CONWAY, SC Senior guard Colin Stevens drained two free throws with 4.4 seconds to seal a 63-62 Coastal Carolina victory over visiting Charleston Southern, Thu., Jan. 19. With their eighth consecutive home win, the Chanticleers evened their record to 8-8 and 2-3 in the Big South while the Buccaneers fell to 7-10 and 2-4 in league action.
Charleston Southern got the first basket of the game on a jumper by Ferdinand Cain, but that was the only lead the Bucs would have, as Coastal rattled off the next nine points, capped by guard Jack Leasure's layup, to take a 9-2 lead just over five minutes into the game. Coastal would not manage more than a six-point lead for the next eight minutes. However, the Chanticleers closed the half strong, going on a 14-4 run over the final 7:18, including guard Colin Stevens' jumper with four second to play, to take a 33-18 halftime lead.
Coastal hit 41.2 percent (14-for-34) in the first half, while Charleston Southern had just 19 shots from the floor in the period, hitting seven of them. CSU did lead the board battle 20-14, but Coastal forced 15 CSU turnovers to just one for the Chanticleers and turned those miscues into 11 CCU points.
The visiting Bucs chipped into the lead several times, cutting it under 10 six times, the final time occurring with just seven minutes to go in the game. After Coastal led 50-40 with 7:16 to go, CSU reeled off five points in 18 seconds to cut the lead to just five. CCU got four in a row on a Leasure jumper and a pair of Stevens free throws to push the margin back to nine at 54-45 with 4:47 to play. Charleston Southern continued to battle and got it to three with 19 seconds to play. Stevens hit one of two free throws to make it a four-point advantage for Coastal with just 15 seconds to go. Donnell Covington hit a pair of free throws for CSU to make it 61-59 with 5.1 seconds to go. This set up Stevens' dramatic free throws with 4.4 seconds to go. The Bucs' Terrell Brown hit a three with no time remaining for the final margin.
Coastal struggled from the floor in the second half, hitting just 6-for-20 and finishing at 37.0 percent (20-for-54) for the game. CSU was 38.8 percent (19-for-49) from the field. The free throw stripe became big in the game, as the Chanticleers hit 19-of-24 (79.2 percent) from the line, while CSU was just 20-for-30 (66.7 percent). The Buccaneers controlled the boards, outrebounding the Chants 45-28, including 19 offensive boards. Coastal did force 12 more turnovers in the game while posting a season-high six blocked shots.
Coastal was led by Leasure with 17 points, while guard Pele Paelay and Stevens each contributed 12 in the win. Charleston Southern was paced by Chris Moore, who posted a double-double with game highs of 20 points and 10 rebounds. Cain was the only other Buc in double figures with 10 points.
Coastal wraps up a three-game homestand in six days, hosting Radford, Sat., Jan. 21. The game is scheduled to tip 30 minutes following the women's home Big South opener against UNC Asheville at 2 p.m. CSU returns home to meet Radford, Mon., Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m.