LEXINGTON, VA - Coastal Carolina Universitys mens basketball team broke an eight-game road losing streak with a 79-68 victory over host VMI, Jan. 10. With the victory, the Chanticleers move to 5-10 on the season and 2-1 in the Big South, while the Keydets fall to 5-7 and 0-2 in league play.
VMI got the early jump on Coastal, scoring the first six points of the game in just over two minutes. Coastal came back and cut the lead to one on four separate occasions before taking its first lead of the game at 13-12 with 10:49 to go in the game. VMI took its final lead of the game at 27-26 with 3:19 to go in the first half, but the Chants closed the half with a 7-3 run that gave them a 33-30 halftime advantage.
Coastal shot just 36.1 percent from the floor in the first half, but limited the Keydets to 37.1 percent from the field. The Chants did knock down five three-pointers to VMIs three, but VMI outrebounded CCU, 27-20. Coastal did force 12 VMI turnovers in the opening half, converting those into 14 points. Junior Pele Paelay (Derwood, Md./Magruder) led Coastal with 14 at the break, while freshman Jack Leasure (Rochester, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit) added eight. VMI was paced by Levar Joseph with 10.
The Chanticleers continued to build the lead steadily throughout the second half, leading by 11 at the first media timeout and by 16 at 56-40 with just under 12 minutes to go. Coastal would push its lead to as many as 20 at 72-52 with 3:36 to go before the Keydets would make a final push to cut the final margin to 11.
Coastal shot 57.1 percent (16-for-28) from the floor in the second half to finish the game at 45.3 percent and limited the Keydets to just 35.4 percent (23-for-65) for the game. Coastal also outscored VMI on the fast break, 16-4. CCU continued its solid shooting from the arc, hitting 43.5 percent (10-for-23) on three-pointers.
Paelay finished with a career-high 38 points, the most in the Big South this season and tying for the sixth most in school history with Mohammed Acha, set during the 1992-93 season at Radford. His 14 field goals also tie for the third-best single game in school annals. Leasure finished with 15, while senior Alvin Green (Socastee, S.C./Socastee) chipped in 11. VMI was led by freshman Reggie Williams with 23, while Joseph was the only other Keydet in double figures with 10.
The Chants return home for a pair of home games, starting with Liberty, Sat., Jan. 15 at 4 p.m. The Flames come in on the heels of a 74-72 home victory over Birmingham-Southern, Jan. 10.