COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. BULLDOGS
Coastal Carolina's Kimbel Arena (1,039) ~ Conway, South Carolina
Monday, January 16, 2006 ~ 7 p.m.
THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Buzz Peterson (North Carolina, '86) is in his first season at the helm of the Chanticleers and holds a 172-116 overall coaching record in nine-plus seasons. Last season, Coastal posted a 10-19 mark, including 7-9 in Big South Conference play.
Eddie Biedenbach (North Carolina State, 68) is in his 10th season at UNC Asheville with a 125-149 record at UNCA and a 134-200 mark in 10-plus seasons overall. Last season, UNC Asheville was 11-17 overall and 8-8 in the Big South, finishing third in the regular season. The Bulldogs return all five starters and eight letterwinners from last year's squad.
SERIES HISTORY: This is the 45th meeting between Coastal and UNCA, and the series is as close as could be, tied at 22 wins apiece. The Chanticleers hold a 15-7 advantage at Kimbel Arena, including the last four games in Conway. Last season, the home team won each meeting by double figures (Recaps and box scores of last year's meetings are available on page 8.)
PETERSON AGAINST THE BULLDOGS: This will be the second time that CCU head coach Buzz Peterson has faced his hometown school as head coach. At Tennessee in 2003-04, Peterson's squad defeated UNC Asheville 80-67 in Knoxville.
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, and finished 8-5 in 2004-05. CCU did open the 2005-06 home schedule with a resounding 70-35 victory over Coker. The Chanticleers are 6-0 this season at home and now 18-3 since the start of the 2002-03 season in non-conference games at home and 31-14 overall.
CLOSE CALLS IN THE BIG SOUTH A REGULAR FOR CCU: Games in the Big South are always a battle, and the last two years' numbers prove it for Coastal Carolina. In 2003-04, 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. Last year, CCU was 4-4 in its Big South games decided by nine or less. During the 2004-05 season, CCU defeated Winthrop by eight and lost by seven to Liberty. CCU earned a one-point win at Birmingham-Southern, Jan. 24. The Chants dropped a gut-wrenching two-point game at Charleston Southern, Feb. 3, but rebounded with a five-point win over VMI, Feb. 5. Coastal dropped a seven-point game at High Point, Feb. 12 and a four-point loss at Liberty, Feb. 14. Finally, Coastal defeated Charleston Southern by three at Kimbel Arena, Feb. 21.
FROM DOWNTOWN...BANG!: Sophomore Jack Leasure continues to believe -- and prove -- that outside the three-point arc is his domain. Through 14 games this season, the guard has hit 63 three-pointers, an average of 4.5 per game. As of Jan. 9, he led the nation in three pointers per game and ranked 22nd nationally in three-point field goal percentage with 45.7 and 31st in scoring at 20.2 points per game.
As a team, Coastal is also among the nation's leaders in triples. The Chanticleers are averaging 9.2 threes per game, which as of Jan. 9 ranks them 10th in Division I.
THE STARTING LINEUP IS STILL FLUID: Coastal Carolina, under first year head coach Buzz Peterson, has tweaked the lineup throughout the first 14 contests of the year. In the first 14 games, the Chanticleers have had eight different starting lineups. However, three players (Pele Paelay, Jack Leasure and Moses Sonko) have started all 13 games and one other (Chad Ferguson) has started nine. Guard Mario Sisinni has joined the starting lineup in eight of the last nine contests.
STRONG IN BIG SOUTH OPENERS: In their 21 Big South Conference openers, Coastal Carolina has posted an impressive 16-5 mark overall. Of those, CCU has now played 12 on the road, with an 8-4 record. The Chants also hold a 10-11 mark in their first Big South road games overall. However of the last seven Big South openers, Coastal has played five on the road and has only been 1-4 in those games.
DRAINING AND DISHING: Sophomore guard Jack Leasure has been getting the job done in a variety of ways early this year. Leasure continues to hit the outside shot, as he has drained 63 triples on 44.4 percent shooting this year and is leading the Chanticleers in scoring at 19.1 points per game. However, he has also taken on some point guard duties and made that work, as he is averaging 4.4 assists per game, including a career-best nine dishes wins twice this year, as well as 1.9 steals per contest.
After averaging 22.5 points a game during the week of Dec. 12-18, including a career-best 33 in the win over MEAC-preseason favorite South Carolina State, Leasure was named Big South Player of the Week for the first time in his career Dec. 19.
AT YOUR LEASURE: Sophomore Jack Leasure was impressive on the offensive end of the floor in his freshman season. 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 Hawaii Nov. 26. He scored 23 points, including at High Point, Feb. 12, 2004. He averaged 14.5 points (seventh in the Big South) and hit 42.5 percent (85-of-200) from the three-point arc, second best in the Big South Conference. He also led the league and ranked 29th nationally in three-pointers per game with 2.93. Leasure improved his averages to 15.8 points (third in the Big South) and 2.8 rebounds per game in league play.
This season, Leasure leads the Chants in scoring, averaging a team-high 19.1 points a game (fifth in the Big South) and adding 3.7 rebounds. He has hit a league and national-best 63 three-pointers (4.5 per game), including a career-best nine in a recent win over Chowan, Dec. 19. He currently ranks third on CCU's all-time three-pointers chart with 143 in just 42 games. His nine three pointers tied for the second-best performance in school history, while his seven three-pointers against Coker, Nov. 30, and St. Andrews, Jan. 3, tied for the fifth best single games in Coastal history. He also has 62 assists (fourth in the league) and 26 steals (fifth in the Big South) so far this year.
SOME KEY ITEMS FOR COASTALS VICTORIES: Several trends developed in regards to Coastal winning in the 2005-06 season. Coastal is 6-3 when leading at the break, 6-0 when ahead with five minutes to play and 6-2 when scoring at least 70 points. Defense is always a key, as Coastal is 5-1 when holding opponents to less than 70 points, as well as 6-3 when forcing at least 15 turnovers. Another interesting note is that when guard Jack Leasure leads Coastal is scoring, the Chants are 5-2.
STEPPING UP THE DEFENSE: In their six victories, the Chanticleers have made the difference on the defensive end of the floor. In the six victories, Coastal has given up just 60.5 points per game and just 42.6 percent (127-for-298) shooting from the floor. Additionally, the Chants have forced 7.3 more turnovers a game in the wins, including 11.5 steals per game. Coastal has also outrebounded its opponents by 4.5 caroms a game in the six victories.
This doesn't mean Coastal hasn't been solid offensively as well in the wins. The Chants have hit on 49.2 percent (183-for-372) of their shots from the floor, including 42.9 percent (66-for-154) from the three-point arc.
Individually, guard Jack Leasure has been the leader for the Chants in the six wins, averaging 26.0 points per game in the wins. Additionally, Leasure has hit 56.0 percent (51-for-91) of his shots from the floor, including 38 three pointers and 52.1 percent (38-for-73) shooting from beyond the arc. He also has 3.5 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game in the six victories.
PAELAY GETS IT DONE: Senior Pele Paelay made things happen offensively for Coastal in the 2004-05 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. 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 best in the league this year, while his 14 field goals tied for third in CCU annals. For the season, Paelay averaged a league-bests of 16.8 points and 2.4 steals per game and added 6.0 rebounds. He also led CCU in scoring 15 times and 12 times in rebounding, while tallying double-digit scoring in 27 of 29 contests. He was the only player in the Big South Conference to rank in the top 10 in scoring (1st), rebounding (6th) and steals (1st) and was 11th in assists.
This season, Paelay is averaging 14.5 points (seventh in the Big South) and 5.2 rebounds (17th in the league) in 14 contests. He had his best game of the season so far at VMI, Jan. 7, scoring 24 points and adding seven rebounds, four assists, and two blocks.
Prior to that, his top game had been at Minnesota, where he tallied a game-high 23 points on 8-for-12 shooting, including 4-for-7 from the three-point arc. He added two rebounds, five assists and one steal in the effort. He tied that mark with 23 points in the home win over Jacksonville, Dec. 11.
He also has 936 points in his career, just 64 from becoming the 13th player in Coastal history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. At his current pace with no games missed, he would reach the mark at Winthrop, Jan. 24.
ANOTHER TOUGH ROAD GAME AT BSC: Coastal Carolina fought back during the late stages of the game but could not overcome a slow opening in each half, falling at Birmingham-Southern, 77-64, Jan. 14. With their 13th consecutive road loss, including eight road games, the Chanticleers fell to 6-8 and 0-3 in the Big South, while the Panthers advanced to 10-5 and 3-1 in league action.
Birmingham-Southern got out to a fast start to open the game, opening on a 13-4 run in the first six minutes of the game, and eventually pushed the lead to 11 at 21-10 with eight minutes to go in the half. Coastal's defense then stepped up and allowed the Chants to slowly battle back, cutting into the lead down each possession, eventually going into the halftime lockerroom just trailing by three, 32-29.
Coastal struggled from the field, hitting just nine field goals and 42.9 percent (9-for-21) from the floor, as compared to BSC's 45.2 percent (14-for-31). The two differences for CCU were rebounding, as the Chants led the board battle 18-13, and the charity stripe, with Coastal going 9-for-11 and BSC just 2-for-3.
Individually, CCU was led by forward Moses Sonko with eight points, while forward Joseph Harris had four points and seven rebounds. The Panthers were led by Thomas Viglianco with eight points, while Dwayne Paul chipped in five.
The Chants came out in the second half and immediately tied the game at 34, but could not get over the top. At that point, BSC took control of the game again, going on a 15-2 run over the next 3:40 to take a 49-36 lead it would never relinquish. The Panthers pushed the lead to as many as 17 at 60-43 with 10:11 to play. However, Coastal would fight, cutting it seven with a 10-0 run over 4:37 to make it 60-53. CCU got it as close as five at 62-57 with 4:09 to play but BSC's James Collins drained a three to put the game out of reach. Free throws down the stretch provided the final margin of victory.
Coastal finished the game shooting 39.2 percent (20-for-51) from the floor, including 4-for-15 from the three-point arc. BSC was 48.3 percent (29-for-60) from the field, with six triples. CCU lost the rebounding war 35-31, but the Chants did get to the free throw line 24 times, hitting 20 of them.
Guard Colin Stevens led Coastal with a season-high 18 points, while Sonko was the only other player in double figures with 12. Both Pele Paelay and Jack Leasure were held below double figures, the first time both were held below 10 in a game this season. Collins led Birmingham-Southern with a season-high 21 points, while Viglianco and Paul added 16 and 11, respectively.
A TALE OF TWO HALVES AT HIGH POINT: Coastal Carolina's men's basketball team struggled again in the second half and found itself on the short end of an 82-62 decision at High Point, Jan. 9. Coastal suffered its 12th consecutive road loss and largest Big South loss in four years.
Coastal jumped out to a fast start, scoring the first eight points of the game in less than two minutes, sparked by three pointers from guard Pele Paelay and Jack Leasure and a bucket from Moses Sonko. High Point came back and took the lead at 15-14 and pushed the advantage to six at 20-14 by completing a 9-0 run over a three-minute span. CCU came back on a surge of its own, outscoring the host Panthers 17-4 over the next six minutes to take a 31-24 lead with 3:45 to go in the half. The two teams battled down the stretch and Coastal entered the lockerroom with a 35-31 halftime lead.
The Chants hit on 45.2 percent (14-for-31) from the floor and limited the Panthers to just 35.7 percent (10-for-28). CCU committed 12 turnovers while HPU had 10, but Coastal was a point better at converting them at 17-16. One difference in the half came on the boards, where the Chanticleers outrebounded the Panthers 21-15 and limited one of the top offensive rebounding teams in the league to just five in the first half.
Coastal was led by Sonko with 10, while Paelay and Leasure chipped in nine and seven, respectively. High Point was paced by Arizona Reid with nine, while Issa Konare added seven.
The Chanticleers struggled in the second half to find offense, as they were outscored 51-27 in the half. A major contributor to that was CCU having problems keeping a handle on the basketball, as the Chants committed eight turnovers in the first eight minutes of the second half and 15 in the final period alone, finishing with 25. During an eight-minute span, High Point put together 32-10 run to take command of the game at 75-53, a lead the Panthers would never relinquish. Shooting was also an issue in the second half, as Coastal was just 9-for-29 (31.0 percent) from the floor.
For the game, CCU hit just 38.3 percent (23-for-60) while High Point was 44.1 percent (26-for-59). The Panthers got to the free throw line and made it count, going 23-for-30, while the Chants were just 10-for-13. Turnovers were also a key, as High Point converted 25 Coastal miscues into 33 points.
CCU was led by Leasure with 25 points, including five threes, while Sonko was the only other Chanticleer in double figures with 12. High Point had four players in double figures, paced by Issa Konare and Arizona Reid with 18 each, while Akeem Scott and Melvin Crowder added 10 apiece. Konare also recorded a game-high six blocks with Reid making it a double-double with 10 rebounds.
A TOUGH BIG SOUTH OPENER AT VMI: For the first time in five meetings, Coastal Carolina's men's basketball team dropped its 11th consecutive road game in a loss at VMI, 88-77, Sat., Jan. 7 in Lexington, VA.
The two teams exchanged early baskets and leads, with Coastal grabbing a 9-8 advantage with just over 15 minutes to play in the first half. However, the Keydets went on a 12-0 run over the next 2:47 to take a 20-9 lead. The Chants chipped away at the lead throughout the remainder of the half, slowly bringing the margin down and getting as close as one at 37-36 with 1:47 to go in the half. Again, the teams traded buckets and VMI entered the lockerroom with a slim 43-41 halftime lead.
Coastal hit on 47.1 percent (16-for-34) from the floor in the early going, but VMI blistered the nets at 59.3 percent (16-for-27) from the field. CCU outrebounded VMI 18-11 in the opening stanza, including nine second-chance points off seven offensive rebounds. Both teams had six turnovers, but the Chanticleers were able to get five more points off those, outscoring the hosts 9-4.
CCU was led by guard Jack Leasure with 11 points, including three triples, while guard Pele Paelay and forward Moses Sonko each chipped in 10. VMI was led by Matt Murrer with 14, while Reggie Williams and Justin Jarman had eight apiece.
Coastal grabbed the lead early in the second half, going up 49-48 less than two minutes into the first half. However, that would be the last lead the Chanticleers would have in the game, as the Keydets slowly built a lead of as many as nine on two occasions. CCU did muster a comeback, cutting the game to 71-69 with just 3:57 to play, but could not get the key basket to re-take the lead. VMI hit free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
VMI finished the game strong, hitting 57.7 percent (30-for-52) from the floor while Coastal hit on just 45.3 (29-for-64). The big difference in the game came at the charity stripe, as the Keydets were 21-for-27, while Coastal was just 10-for-12.
Coastal was paced by Paelay with 24, while Sonko tied a season high with 18 points. Leasure finished with 18. VMI was led by guard Reggie Williams with a game-high 26 points, with Matt Murrer and Justin Jarman contributing 19 and 10, respectively.
WHERE'S THE BENCH?: Coastal is continuing to look for support from the bench after its first 13 games of the season and found it in one of its most recent outings. The Chanticleers got a season-high 50 points from the reserves in the victory over Ohio Valley, Dec. 28.
For the season, Coastal has gotten 227 points off the bench in the first 14 contests of the year, an average of 16.2 points per game and just 23.1 percent of the offensive production for the Chanticleers.
TONIGHT'S INJURY REPORT: For the game against UNC Asheville, forward Logan Johnson (right foot) and forward Noah Nichols (foot) are out.
YOUTH IS SERVED THIS YEAR: Of the 16 players on the Coastal roster to open this season, eight are freshmen new to the team, while a ninth redshirted last year. Among the returners, there are two seniors, two juniors and three sophomores.
THE WINDING ROAD HAS NOT BEEN KIND: After posting a 4-4 record on the road in the Big South in 2003-04, CCU was 2-6 on the road in the Big South last season, with wins at VMI (Jan. 10) and Birmingham-Southern (Jan. 24) and 2-14 in road games overall.
CCU dropped its first eight road games of the 2005-06 season at Jacksonville State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, UNC Wilmington, Eastern Kentucky, VMI, High Point and Birmimgham-Southern. As a matter of fact, Coastal has lost its last 16 non-conference road games, dating back to the 2003-04 season opener at Marist. CCU also enters tonight's contest with a 13-game road losing streak overall, including an eight-game Big South road streak dating back midway through the Big South schedule last year.
A SURPRISING PRESEASON POLL: Coastal was picked to finish second in the 2005 Big South Preseason Poll, announced at the league's annual Media Day in Charlotte, N.C., Oct. 15. The poll, voted on by the league's head coaches, sports information directors and selected media members, selected Winthrop as the first-ever unanimous favorite, as the Eagles return all five starters from last year's championship team. UNC Asheville was selected third, one point behind Coastal. Liberty was picked fourth, followed by High Point, Birmingham-Southern, Radford, Charleston Southern and VMI, respectively.
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.