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Men's Basketball Quickly Back In Action, Hosting High Point

       

Men's Basketball Quickly Back In Action, Hosting High Point

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CHANTICLEERS WRAPS UP HOMESTAND: Coastal Carolina's men's basketball team wraps up a two-game homestand at Kimbel Arena, taking on last year's Big South Conference runner-up High Point tonight. CCU lost the opener of the homestand to Liberty, 71-64, Jan. 15.

SERIES HISTORY: Coastal holds a 9-5 advantage in this series with the Panthers, including a 5-2 mark at Kimbel Arena. CCU and High Point first met during the 1978-79 season, but after an 18-year layoff, the two teams became conference rivals in the 1998-99 season. Since then, Coastal has won eight of the 12 meetings, including 5-1 at home. However, the road team won each of last year's contests.

THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Pete Strickland (Pittsburgh, '79) is in his seventh season at the helm of the Chanticleers and holds a 65-119 overall coaching record. Last season, Coastal posted a 14-15 mark, including 8-8 in Big South Conference play.

Bart Lundy (Winthrop, ’93) is in his second season at High Point, with a 27-20 record with the Panthers. Overall, he has a 142-59 record in his eighth season as a head coach overall. Last season, High Point posted an 19-11 record overall and tied for third in the Big South with a 10-6 record and advanced to the Advance Auto Parts Big South Tournament Championship game.

KIMBEL HAS ITS ADVANTAGES: Coastal Carolina's Kimbel Arena may seat just over 1,000 fans, but it had been large for the Chanticleers the previous two seasons. Coastal was 9-1 in non-conference play during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, with the only loss a 73-72 heartbreaker to the College of Charleston early in the 2003-04 season. Coastal was a combined 17-9 at home over the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, but dropped to 4-3 in 2004-05 with its loss to Liberty, Jan. 15.

NATIONAL RANKINGS: Coastal has two players among the top 50 in the nation in their respective categories as of Jan. 10. Jack Leasure ranks 29th in three-point field goal percentage at 44.7 percent, while Pele Paelay ranks 41st in steals at 2.5 per game.

HITTING FROM LONG RANGE: Coastal has hit early and often from long range in the 2004-05 season. The Chanticleers have knocked down an average of 6.9 three pointers a game on league-leading 36.9 percent shooting. Over the last 10 games, Coastal has hit on 39.9 percent from the arc, connecting on 71-of-178 attempts.

LEASURE NAMED BIG SOUTH FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK FOR THIRD STRAIGHT TIME: Coastal Carolina’s Jack Leasure was named the Big South Conference/New Balance Men’s Basketball Freshman of the Week, Jan. 10. This is the third consecutive time he has won the honor and the third weekly award for the Chanticleers this season.

Leasure scored a career-high 24 points in the Chants’ Big South opening win over Winthrop, going 8-of-13 (.615) from the floor and 5-of-10 (.500) from beyond the arc in his first league game. He added 13 points for CCU at Radford. For the week, Leasure averaged 18.5 points, 52.0 percent (13-of-25) from the floor and 47.1 percent from three-point range on 8-of-17 shooting.

PAELAY GETS IT DONE: Junior Pele Paelay has made things happen offensively for Coastal this season. Paelay knocked down a career-high 27 points and made it his first career double-double with 11 rebounds at Evansville, Nov. 23. He later followed up that performance with 22 points and 11 rebounds at UNC Greensboro, Nov. 23. Most recently, Paelay had a career-high 38 points and eight rebounds in the win at VMI, Jan. 10. The 38 points are the sixth most in school history and his 14 field goals tied for third in the history. For the season, Paelay is averaging 17.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.7 steals a game, leading the team in both points and steals. He has also led CCU in scoring eight times and five times in rebounding, while tallying double-digit scoring in 14 of 16 contests. He is the only player in the Big South Conference to rank in the top 10 in scoring (2nd), rebounding (6th), assists (7th) and steals (1st).

AT YOUR LEASURE: Freshman Jack Leasure has been impressive on the offensive end of the floor in his first 15 collegiate games. He opened his collegiate career Nov. 19 with 16 points against Indiana State and followed it up with 17 points, including five three-pointers, at Evansville, Nov. 21. Leasure then had a career high 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting against Hawai’i Nov. 26. He recently scored a career-best 24 points, including five three-pointers, in the home win over Winthrop, Jan. 5. He is now averaging 13.0 points (13th in the Big South) and hitting 43.6 percent (44-of-101) from the three-point arc, fifth best in the Big South Conference. He also leads the league in three-pointers per game with 2.75.

CLOSE CALLS IN THE BIG SOUTH A REGULAR FOR CCU: Games in the Big South are always a battle, and last year's numbers prove it for Coastal Carolina. Last season in the league, 11 of CCU's 16 Big South contests were decided by nine points or less, with Coastal holding a 4-7 mark in those games. CCU has split its two Big South game decided by nine or less, defeating Winthrop in the opener by eight, Jan. 5, and losing by seven to Liberty, Jan. 15.

MOSES DOING HIS "PART" FOR THE TEAM: Sophomore Moses Sonko has started to look like the player CCU fans saw last year. After an early season injury, he showed his skills versus Jacksonville State, Dec. 14, as Sonko tied career-highs with 21 points and nine rebounds in the victory. In the last 11 games, he has averaged 10.9 points and 4.4 rebounds a game. He is now averaging 8.6 points and 3.8 rebounds on the year.

UPPING THE GAME IN LEAGUE PLAY: It is said that teams have to step up their play when they get to league play, and CCU is proof of that in the early going of the Big South season.

As a team, Coastal has improved its scoring average from 67.1 to 75.2, over eight points a game more. Additionally, the Chanticleers have improved their field goal percentage by 25 points, while turning the ball almost four times less per game.

Junior Pele Paelay has increased his scoring average from 16.4 points in non-conference action to 20.8 points in Big South play, while freshman Jack Leasure (11.8 to 16.5), senior Alvin Green (5.7 to 11.0) and sophomore Moses Sonko (8.1 to 10.0) have all seen significant increases in their scoring in the first four league tilts, helping the Chants to a 2-2 mark in the early going.

LOSING ANOTHER CLASSIC GAME WITH LIBERTY: Coastal Carolina University’s men’s basketball team shot just 38.8 percent from the field in losing a tough 71-64 game to visiting Liberty, Jan. 15.

This was a classic battle throughout, as no team led by more than four points in the opening half. There were 13 lead changes and a tie, before the visiting Flames went into the halftime lockerroom with a slim 30-29 advantage.

Liberty pushed the advantage to four on the first possession of the second half, as Glyn Turner knocked down a three-pointer from the corner to put the Flames up 33-29. However, this would start a trend of trading baskets, as Liberty would lead by no more than six thought the majority of the second half. Coastal cut it to one on two occasions in the late going, including 62-61 with 2:57 to play, but couldn’t ever wrestle the lead away from the visitors. CCU had several chances late to make it a one-possession game, the last with less than a minute to go, but could not convert.

For the game, Coastal struggled from the field, hitting just 38.8 percent from the field. After shooting 42 percent from the three-point arc in the last nine games, the Chants hit a paltry 19.0 percent (4-for-21) from three-point range in the game. Liberty was solid offensively, hitting 51.0 percent of its shots from the field and outrebounding the Chanticleers 37-34. The Flames also went to the free-throw line 12 more times than CCU, hitting 15-of-23 while Coastal was just 8-of-11.

JuniorPele Paelay and freshman Jack Leasure led Coastal with 14 points each, while sophomore Moses Sonko chipped in 10 points. Senior Leo Lightbourne led all scorers with a career-high 27 points and eight rebounds, while sophomore contributed 15 points.

LAST YEAR'S FIRST MEETING WITH HIGH POINT - A SLOW START DOOMS CHANTICLEERS: Coastal Carolina struggled from the field in the first half but battled back late, coming up on the short end of a 75-69 loss to visiting High Point in Big South Conference action, Jan. 5, 2004.

High Point scored the first four points of the game and never trailed in the game, as the Panthers built an 11-point lead in the first half and settled for a 38-28 halftime advantage. Coastal, playing without guard Clint Reed who suffered a season-ending wrist injury in the win over Liberty, struggled shooting the ball in the first half, hitting just 35.3 percent while HPU hit on 44.4 percent.

The visitors pushed the lead higher in the second half, leading by as much as 15 at 55-45 with 10:35 to play, but the Chants worked their way back into the game. Sparked by five points each by guards Brandon Newby and Pele Paelay, Coastal went on a 12-1 run over the next four minutes to cut the lead to 56-52. High Point pushed the lead back to nine at 62-53 on a pair of Zione White three pointers. Coastal battled to cut the lead to two on three separate occasions but could never get the lead.

CCU was led by Newby’s 20 points, while Paelay tied a season high with 14 points. High Point was paced by Jerry Echenique with 17 points, while Danny Gathings had a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. Coastal was outshot by High Point, 46.7 percent from the field to 39.7 percent, as well as being outrebounded 42-36.

LAST SEASON'S SECOND MEETING WITH HPU -- COASTAL GETS ROAD WIN AT HIGH POINT: Coastal Carolina’s men’s basketball squad snapped a three-game losing streak with a solid 73-52 victory at High Point, Feb. 9, 2004.

Coastal jumped out early, racing to a 14-5 lead at the 11:25 mark and pushing it to 15 at 20-5 with 10:11 to go. The Panthers made a small run to cut it to 22-14 with 8:09 to go, but the Chanticleers, led by senior guard E.J. Gallup’s 12 first-half points, pushed it back to 15 at the intermission, 39-24.

High Point chipped away early in the second half, cutting the lead to 10 several times, including at down to 11 at 54-43 with 9:11 to go. However, the Chanticleers always found the rebound or basket when they needed it and closed the game on a 19-9 run for the final margin of victory.

Coastal did the job on both ends of the floor, outshooting the Panthers, 45.8-37.5 percent, and dominated the glass 39-26, including 17 offensive rebounds. CCU also was 9-for-20 from the three-point arc and took advantage of 19 Panther turnovers, converting them into 27 points. The bench also did the trick for the Chants, outscoring High Point’s 28-16.

Gallup, limited in the first meeting to just five points in the first meeting, led the Chanticleers with 19 points,four rebounds and six steals, including four three-pointers. Junior guard Alvin Green chipped in 14 points, six rebounds and six assists, while freshman forward Moses Sonko had nine. High Point was led by Zione White with 16 points, while Patrick Hilliman had 14 points and nine rebounds. Coastal’s defense limited junior forward Danny Gathings, the eventual Big South Player of the Year, to just six points on the night.

NICE TO SEE GREEN AGAIN: Senior guard Alvin Green has again battled through injuries to be a leader for the Chanticleers. This year, Green has overcome preseason surgery to his shooting hand and is showing the confidence again in his game. In the win over Jacksonville State, Dec. 15, Green made his second start of the season and scored a season-high 20 points and added seven rebounds and seven assists in the victory. He has upped his averages to 6.9 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists a game. With his four assists at Tennessee, he moved into fifth on CCU’s all-time assists chart and now stands at 368, just eight behind Greg Moody (1984-88) in fourth with 376.

SOME KEY ITEMS FOR COASTAL’S VICTORIES: Several trends developed in regards to Coastal winning early in the 2004-05 season. Coastal is 5-3 when leading at the half and 5-1 when leading with five minutes to go in the game. CCU is also 4-1 when holding opponents under 70 points and 3-0 when getting to the free throw line more than its opponents. Conversely, the Chanticleers are 0-8 when trailing at halftime, with an average deficit of 11.3 points at the intermission in those games they trail at the half.

ROAD WOES FINALLY END: After posting a 4-4 record on the road in the Big South last season, CCU finally put together a road win this season, defeating VMI, 79-68, Jan. 10, after going winless in its first eight contests away from home. Coastal is now 1-1 on the road in the Big South this season.

NOTHING LIKE A NAGEL TO GET YOU GOING: Senior Clint Nagel was a significant part of the success in 2003-04 and looks to do it again this year. Last season, Nagel averaged 4.2 points and 5.4 rebounds, which ranked 10th in Big South only games. Nagel posted his first career double-double at VMI, Feb. 14 with career-bests of 10 points and 10 rebounds against the Keydets. Overall last season, Nagel led CCU and ranked 16th in the Big South in rebounding at 4.3 boards per game.

This season, Nagel has improved on both ends of the floor, averaging 6.4 points and a team-best 6.6 rebounds a game, having started all 16 contests.

TWO SENIORS SERVE AS CO-CAPTAINS: Coastal Carolina has a pair of seniors as co-captains for the 2004-05 season in guard Alvin Green and forward Clint Nagel. Green started 24 of 27 games he played in last year and is the leading returning scorer at 7.1 points per game. Nagel played in all 29 contests last year for Coastal, starting 17 of them and averaging 3.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.

LIVE ON THE RADIO AND THE WEB: Coastal Carolina men's basketball will be broadcast live on "The Team", 93.9 FM, 93.7 FM and 1050 AM in the Conway/Myrtle Beach area, as well as on the Internet at www.GoCCUSports.com. Matt Hogue returns for his eighth year as "Voice of the Chanticleers". In addition, a returning feature this year will be Live Game Stats of all CCU home basketball games on the Internet.

GETTING THE ROAD WIN AT VMI: Coastal Carolina broke an eight-game road losing streak with a 79-68 victory over host VMI, Jan. 10.

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 VMI’s 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 led Coastal with 14 at the break, while freshman Jack Leasure 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 chipped in 11. VMI was led by freshman Reggie Williams with 23, while Joseph was the only other Keydet in double figures with 10.

ANOTHER TOUGH LOSS AT RADFORD: Coastal Carolina University’s men’s basketball team played its first Big South Conference road game of the season and dropped it at Radford, 93-82, Jan. 8. With the loss, CCU falls to 4-10 and 1-1 in the Big South, while Radford snaps a four-game losing streak and goes to 6-7 and 1-1 in league play.

Coastal trailed just once in the first half at 5-4, and was tied at seven all with the host Highlanders at the first media timeout. From there, the Chants went on a 14-6 run to take a 21-13 lead with 11:16 to go. Radford fought back with a 9-2 run of its own in the next 4:09 to cut the margin to one at 23-22. Radford got it within one tow other times, while Coastal pushed the margin back to six each time, eventually coming out with a 44-38 halftime advantage.

Coastal knocked down 56.7 percent of its shots from the floor in the first half, including 4-for-8 from the three-point arc. CCU committed just three turnovers and converted six Radford miscues into nine points. The 44 points by the Chanticleers were the second-most they have tallied in the first half this season. CCU was led by sophomore Moses Sonko with 12 points, including 6-for-8 from the field. RU was led by Chris Oliver with 10, while Reggie McIntyre had nine.

The Chanticleers went cold from the floor to start the second half, while Radford heated up , going on a 15-6 run to open the second half and take a 53-50 lead with less than five minutes gone. After several surges, Coastal did eventually take the lead at 62-59 with 10:01 to play in the game. However, that would be CCU’s last lead, as the Chants went scoreless for the next 4:13 and Radford took control with a 10-0 run to go up 69-62 and never trail again.

Coastal finished the game at 50.0 percent from the field, but were outshot by the Highlanders, who hit on 52.6 percent from the floor. Free throws were decisive in this game, as RU canned went 31-for-41 from the charity stripe, while Coastal was just 14-for-21. The 55 points given by CCU in the second half were the most this season. It was also Radford’s 15th consecutive regular season win over the Chanticleers and 14th consecutive win over CCU at the Dedmon Center, dating back to the 1990-91 season.

Sonko led CCU with 18 points, while junior Pele Paelay added 14 and freshman Jack Leasure chipped in 13. Oliver led the Highlanders with 28 points, while Whit Holcomb-Faye scored 23 points, 18 of them in the second half.

DEFEATING THE EAGLES IN THE BIG SOUTH OPENER: Coastal Carolina University came out running early and made it stand, defeating Winthrop University 76-68 at Kimbel Arena in the opener of Big South play for both squads, Jan. 5.

After Winthrop grabbed the early lead at 6-2 in the first two minutes, the Chanticleers got it rolling, going on a 22-5 run over the next 6:44 to grab a 24-11 lead with 11:38 to play in the first half. Coastal maintained a double-digit lead throughout the most of the half, but led by just nine, 40-31, at the intermission. The 40 first half points scored by CCU were the most Winthrop has given up in the opening half this season.

Both teams were strong offensively in the first half, as the Eagles hit 58.3 percent from the field, while CCU was 51.7 percent from the field includiing 53.8 percent from the three-point arc. Coastal freshman Jack Leasure knocked down four three-pointers in the opening stanza and finished with 14. Winthrop was led by Junior Otis Daniels with 12 points and four rebounds.

The Eagles came out of the lockeroom firing and were able to close Coastal’s lead to five at 15:44 on Torrell Martin’s jumper. Sparked by junior Pele Paelay’s aggressive play, including eight points and one steal over the next six minutes, the Chants surged back to a 60-44 advantage with 9:26 left to play. Winthrop clawed their way back into the game cutting the Chants lead to nine with 3:10 left to play, but could not sustain the momentum as the Chants offensive play down the stretch was the difference. The Chants forced the Eagles into late fouls and converted their chances, going 6-for-8 from the line in the last three minutes of play. WU’s Michael Jenkins’ three pointer pulled the Eagles within seven with just 34 seconds left in the contest, but CCU held on.

This was the first win for the Chanticleers in the last three meetings, with Coastal holding a 31-24 advantage overall. Even though Winthrop out rebounded Coastal 39-34, Coastal was able to convert 16 Winthrop miscues into 21 points and outscored the Eagles 18-5 on the fast break.

Offensively, Leasure led all scorers with career-best 24, while Paelay added 17 points and senior Alvin Green chipped in 14. Daniels was the leading scorer for the Eagles with 18 points, while grabbing seven rebounds. Martin and Scott Draughn each added 14.

THE VOLUNTEERS WEREN'T HELPFUL HOSTS: Coastal Carolina University’s men’s basketball team got off to a slow start it couldn’t overcome and lost at Tennessee, 83-51, Jan. 2.

Tennessee came out on fire in the first half, opening the game on a 26-5 run over the first 8:20 of the game and never looked back. The Volunteers shot a blistering 66.7 percent (20-for-30) from the field in the first half and pushed the margin to as many as 27 in the opening stanza on two occasions, including leading the Chanticleers 48-21 at the intermission. UT’s Scooter McFadgon led all scorers with 19 in the first half, while senior Clint Nagel and freshman Jack Leasure each had six for CCU.

The Vols continued to build on the lead in the second half, eventually leading by 40 at 71-31 with 8:44 to go, and inserted their reserves into the game. CCU did manage to get it baack to within 26 late in the contest at 77-51 with 1:55 to go.

Coastal never found its offensive rhythm, hitting just 30.8 percent from the field, while the Volunteers finished the game at 53.3 percent. Rebounds were another key, as Coastal was outrebounded 51-30 on the afternoon. CCU did manage to hit 38.9 percent (7-for-18) from the three-point arc and had just 10 turnovers on the afternoon.

Junior guard Pele Paelay was the only Chanticleer in double figures with 14 points and tied for the team high with six rebounds. Tennessee was led by McFadgon with 19, all in the first half, while Chris Lofton chipped in 12.

GETTING IN THE WIN COLUMN AGAINST OHIO NORTHERN: Coastal Carolina University defeated Ohio Northern, 63-45, Wednesday evening at Kimbel Arena.

Coastal was off and running in the first half taking a 8-6 lead four minutes into the contest before scoring 15 unanswered points to lead 23-6 with 8:16 to go in the half. The Polar Bears clawed their way back into the game 15-4 run over the next four minutes to cut the margin to six at 27-21. After several exchanges of baskets, Coastal took a 32-23 lead into the lockeroom.

Senior forward Clint Nagel led the way for CCU in the first half scoring seven points and grabbing five of Coastal’s 22 rebounds. The Chants were 10-for-23, including shooting 4-for-7 from the three-point arc and held the Polar Bears to 28.6 percent from the field.

Coastal kept the visitors at bay, not allowing them to get closer than seven points at any time in the second half. After leading by just nine at 50-41 with 7:18 to go in the game, the Chants outscored Ohio Northern 13-4 to close out the game.

The Chants did not trail in the contest and took advantage of the transition game outscoring ONU 15-2 on the fast break. Offensively, Coastal shot 47.9 percent from the field, including an impressive 55.6 percent from three-point range, a season high. Defense was also the name of the game as the Chants posted two season bests with lowest points allowed and lowest field goal percentage at 26.9 percent. Coastal also out rebounded the Polar Bears 45-37.

Junior guard Pele Paelay led all scorers with 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Sophomore forward Moses Sonko was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field and hit one free throw for 13 points. Greg Badenhop and Jared Bostelman each contributed 13 points for the Polar Bears.

DEFENSE GIVES COLD SHOULDER TO THE POLAR BEARS: Coastal's defense did its part in the victory over visiting Ohio Northern, Dec. 29. In the win, Coastal held the visitors to the lowest point total of the season by an opponent (45) and the lowest field-goal percentage (26.9 percent).