COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. EAGLES
Winthrop's Winthrop Coliseum (6,100) ~ Rock Hill, South Carolina
Saturday, January 27, 2006 ~ 4 p.m.
GOING ON THE ROAD FOR THE NEXT THREE: The Coastal Carolina mens basketball squad will head on the road for the next three contests, starting with today's game at two-time defending Big South champion Winthrop. CCU will also travel to Charleston Southern for a league matchup, Mon., Jan. 29 before playing a non-conference tilt at Savannah State, Feb. 1.
THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Buzz Peterson (North Carolina, '86) is in his second season at the helm of the Chanticleers with a 31-18 record and holds a 197-127 overall coaching record in 10-plus seasons. Last season, Coastal posted a 20-10 mark, including 12-4 in Big South Conference play, falling in the Big South Tournament Championship game.
Gregg Marshall (Randolph-Macon, 85) is in his ninth season at Winthrop with a 181-82 record at WU and as a head coach overall. Last season, Winthrop was 23-8 overall and 13-3 in the Big South, winning the regular season and tournament titles. The Eagles return four starters and eight letterwinners from last year's squad.
SERIES HISTORY: This is the 62nd meeting all-time between Coastal and Winthrop, with the Chanticleers holding a 33-28 advantage. This is a series dominated by homecourt advantage, with Winthrop holding an 19-11 lead at Winthrop Coliseum. That mark includes the Chanticleers ending Winthrop's 23-game home winning streak last season with a 64-57 victory in the Winthrop Coliseum, Jan. 24, 2006. However, WU took the final meeting last year, getting a last-second 51-50 win in the Advance Auto Parts Big South Conference Championship game in the Winthrop Coliseum, Mar. 4. (Recaps and box scores of all three of last year's meetings are available on page 9 and 10.)
PETERSON AGAINST THE EAGLES: This will be the sixth time that CCU head coach Buzz Peterson has faced the Winthrop Eagles as a head coach. While at Appalachian State, Peterson's team defeated Winthrop in Rock Hill in 1997-98 by a score of 77-63, and 74-53 in Boone in 1998-99 (WU head coach Gregg Marshall's first season at Winthrop). Peterson is now 2-1 at Coastal against the Eagles.
LAST TIME OUT - A TOUGH HOME LOSS TO HIGH POINT: Coastal Carolina mens basketball squad battled but a late 8-1 run by visiting High Point gave the Panthers a 59-56 Big South Conference win at Kimbel Arena, Jan. 22. The loss was the first at Kimbel Arena in the last 16 contests for Coastal, while the Panthers posted their eighth straight victory.
The two squads exchanged opening two-pointers before Coastal went on a 9-2 run, including four points by Moses Sonko and three by Joseph Harris, to take an 11-4 advantage with just under five minutes gone. The visiting Panthers came back and eventually took the lead at 17-16 on a layup by Melvin Crowder and built the margin to four at 23-19 on Jerald Minnis' layup with 6:36 to play in the first half. After the game was 27-24 HPU with 3:56 to go, Coastal closed the half on an 11-0 run, including a layup by Adrian Gross with just two seconds remaining in the half for a 35-27 CCU halftime advantage.
High Point charged back to start the second half and eventually tied the game at 38 with 12:41 remaining on Eugene Harris' three-pointer. After trading baskets, including three lead changes and three ties, Coastal had a 55-51 lead on Sonko's layup with 1:48 to play. With 45 seconds to play, HPU's Landon Quick went to the free throw line and hit the first of two free throws. Quick missed the second but High Point got the ball back as it went out of bounds off a Coastal player. The Panthers' Mike Jefferson hit a three-pointer off the inbounds and the game was tied at 55 with 40 seconds to play. HPU then stole the inbounds passed and Arizona Reid was fouled on the play. He made one of two free throws to take a 56-55 lead with 38 seconds to play and Quick also hit one of two to make it 57-55 with 21 seconds to go. Sonko was fouled on an ensuing play for CCU but could only hit one of his two attempts to make it 57-56 with 12 seconds to go. Quick then canned a pair of free throws with nine seconds to play and Coastal's final three-point attempt came up short.
The Chanticleers hit just 38.2 percent (21-for-55) from the floor for the game, including going just 8-for-26 (30.8 percent) in the second half. High Point connected on 41.8 percent (23-for-55) of its shots from the field. HPU hit four three pointers to just one for CCU, while the Chanticleers won the board battled 36-32. Coastal also hit 13-of-19 free throws, while High Point was 9-for-12.
Coastal was led by Sonko with 16 points, while Harris posted his third straight double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds in the game. High Point's Reid led all scorers with 19 points and added 11 boards for his double-double, while Quick and Harris each chipped in 10.
RECENT HISTORY WITH WINTHROP: Last year's Big South Conference Championship game battle was the epitomy of the last four years of games between the Chanticleers and the Eagles. Over the last four seasons, the two teams have met 10 times and have split them with five wins apiece. Coastal has picked up two wins at the Winthrop Coliseum in the six meetings during that span, while going 3-1 at Kimbel Arena against the Eagles. Coastal has won at least one game versus Winthrop in each of the last four seasons. Of the 13 regular-season Big South losses Winthrop has had in the last four years, the Chanticleers have been responsible for five of them, including the Eagles' only loss in the 2004-05 season.
RANKING NATIONALLY: Coastal ranks in the top 85 in several national categories as a team, as of Jan. 21. CCU is 10th nationally in assists at 17.9 per game and 12th in steals at 9.8 per game. Coastal also ranks 62nd in three-pointers made with 7.8 per game, 74th in field-goal percentage at 46.8 percent and 77th in scoring offense at 74.7 points per contest.
Individually, junior guard Jack Leasure ranks 21st in three-pointers per game (3.2), while senior forward Moses Sonko is 29th in field goal percentage at 59.6 percent. Freshman guard Joshua Mack is 87th in three-point field goal percentage (38.3).
A GOOD START: Coastal Carolina has opened the Big South Conference schedule with at least a 4-2 record for just the fifth time in school history and the best start since the 1990-91 campaign. All four of the prior records resulted in winning conference records, including the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 1990-91 after winning both the Big South regular season (13-1 record) and tournament titles.
ONKO CLOSING IN ON THE 1,000 MARK: Senior forward Moses Sonko is working his way towards joining Coastal's elite 1,000-Point Club. He currently has 988 career points, just 12 shy of the magic mark. At his current scoring pace, Sonko would reach the milestone in the game at Winthrop, Sat., Jan. 27. Sonko also just became the 39th player in Big South Conference history to reach the 500 career rebound mark, accomplishing the feat in the win over Liberty, Jan. 20. He currently has 502 career rebounds and can become just the 30th member of the 1,000-Point/500-Rebound Club in league history, four of which have come from Coastal.
HARRIS DOUBLES UP AGAIN: Sophomore Joseph Harris earned his seventh double-double of the season and ninth of his career after scoring 12 points and grabbing 15 rebounds against High Point, Jan. 22.
Harris posted a pair of double-doubles last week in the win over Liberty, Jan. 20 with 18 points and 10 rebounds, and at VMI, Jan. 15, as he had a career-best and team season-best 31 points to go with 11 boards at VMI, Jan. 15. The two-game effort earned him Big South Player of the Week honors for the first time in his career. He had a streak of three straight games with double-doubles earlier in the season -- Campbell (14 pts., 13 reb.), Wright State (12 pts., 13 reb.) and Asbury (17 pts., 11 reb.)
He currently leads the team and is fifth in the Big South at 7.6 boards per contest and ranks fourth the squad at 9.5 points per game. He has at least shared for team-high honors in rebounding in 11 of the first 18 Coastal games this year.
MOVING UP THE SCORING RANKS: With his two free throws in the closing seconds of the win over Wright State, Nov. 19, junior Jack Leasure became the 14th member of CCUs 1000-Point Club, accomplishing the feat in just two years and three games. He currently ranks eighth on Coastal's all-time scoring chart with 1,222 points, recently surpassing Robert Dowdell (1988-91) at 1,202 points and Brian Penny (1988-91) at 1,208. He currently ranks 42nd in league history in scoring. Next on the Coastal list is Howard White (1975-76) in seventh at 1,321.
SSONKO PARTING THE DEFENSE: And that is exactly what senior forward Moses Sonko has been doing on the offensive end of the floor for Coastal. After averaging 11.7 points a game last year, Sonko has stepped up and increased his scoring to 14.8 points per game, leading the squad and eighth in the conference. Over the last 13 games, he has gone even higher, averaging 16.0 points, including a career-high 24 in the win over McNeese State, Jan. 2. Sonko has also tallied six double-doubles this season, including his most recent of 20 points and 11 rebounds at Radford, Jan. 13.
J-MONEY: Junior Jack Leasure has been clutch from the three-point line in the past, but his most notable performance comes from the free-throw line. Leasure is an impressive 25-for-27 (92.6 percent) thus far on the season. Leasure has been good at the three-point arc as well, as he has hit 58 three-pointers in the first 19 games.
LEADING THE WAY: Leaders often do the little things that don't show up in the stats. However with junior Jack Leasure, senior Moses Sonko and sophomore Joseph Harris, when they show up as leaders in the stats, in normally means good things for the Chanticleers. Over the last 48 games, Leasure has led Coastal in scoring on 20 occasions, posting a 17-3 mark, while when Sonko is the leading board grabber, CCU is 10-5. Harris has led the Chants on the glass in 22 of those contests, with CCU having an 15-7 mark in those games as well.
WINNING THE BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: During Coastal's 11 wins, one of the keys for the Chanticleers was the rebounding battle. Coastal has dominated on the glass, outrebounding opponents by a combined margin of 358-279, an average of 7.4 more boards per game than its opponents. However in the eight losses, the Chanticleers have not won the board battle, losing five and tying one with an average margin against of 6.8 rebounds a game.
SONKO SHOOTING IT WELL: Senior forward Moses Sonko has been more assertive on the offensive end of the floor this season. Through Jan. 26, Sonko leads the team and Big South Conference in field goal percentage, now hitting 59.8 percent of his shots from the floor. On the year, he is also pacing the team in scoring, tallying 14.8 points per contest, good for eighth in the league.
LEASURE GETTING BACK IN HIS ZONE: After ending the 2005-06 season ranked second in the nation in three-pointers at 4.2 per game, junior Jack Leasure opened the season with no treys in the loss against Xavier. However, Leasure made up for that with flying colors in the 83-63 loss to Campbell. He led all scorers by hitting five from behind the arc and finishing the game with 19 points. He now has 58 three pointers in 19 games, an average of 3.1 per contest. For his career, Leasure has knocked down 268 three pointers, just seven triples behind CCU and Big South all-time leader KeKe Hicks (1993-96) with 275.
Leasure had his best game of the season in the win over McNeese State, Jan. 2, as the guard scored a season-high 24 points, including going 6-for-8 from the three-point arc. He currently ranks second on the team and 10th in the league in scoring at 14.7 points per game.
JACK BELIEVES IN MAKING CHARITY COUNT: Junior guard Jack Leasure has made his opportunities at the free throw line worth something in his career. He has hit 118 of his 140 attempts at the line, a clip of 84.3 percent that is currently the best career free throw percentage in Coastal history.
SETTLING THE STARTING LINEUP: After using five different starting lineups in the first 12 games, head coach Buzz Peterson has started the same group in six of the last seven games and looks to continue that trend tonight. Getting the nod for Coastal's last six games has been guards Jack Leasure, Joshua Mack and Everage Richardson and forwards Moses Sonko and Joseph Harris, with the group currently 6-1 as starters. The only constants in the lineup this season have been Leasure and Sonko, who have started all 19 games to date.
MACK ON THE ATTACK: Freshman guard Joshua Mack has shown some offensive skills during the early part of the season for the Chanticleers. Mack currently is third for Coastal and 20th in the league in scoring at 11.4 points per game. He also ranks 10th in the Big South in assists at 3.39 per game, third in three-point field goal percentage at 38.3 percent and sixth in three-pointers made with 2.56 per game.
Mack had his best overall outing of the year, tying a career high with 19 points, grabbing four rebounds and dishing out five assists with no turnovers in the home win over Savannah State, Jan. 10. Recently, he tied his career high with 19 points to go with a career-best six rebounds, five assists and three steals, including a key theft in the closing seconds, in the win at VMI, Jan. 15.
HARRIS POSTS 30: Sophomore forward Joseph Harris scored a career-best and team season-high 31 points in the win at VMI, Jan. 15. That is the most points scored by a Chanticleer since current junior Jack Leasure dropped 33 against South Carolina State, Dec. 14, 2005. It was the most points scored by a CCU player in a Big South Conference contest since Pele Paelay had 30 in a loss at Winthop, Jan. 22, 2005.
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 is now 24-3 since the start of the 2002-03 season in non-conference games at Kimbel. CCU had a stellar 14-1 record at home last year, the most home victories since the program went Division I for the 1985-86 season. CCU is also 48-16 (75.0 percent) overall at the Conway campus venue in the last four-plus years, including a staggering 23-2 under current coach Buzz Peterson. In fact, the Chanticleers had won their last 15 games at Kimbel Arena, dating back to Jan. 21, 2006 and a 70-69 overtime loss to Radford, prior to last Monday's loss to High Point.
BIG SOUTH ACTION LAST YEAR AT KIMBEL: In nine conference games against league foes at CCUs Kimbel Arena, the Chanticleers posted eight victories, including wins over two-time defending champion Winthrop and todays opponent, Charleston Southern. In fact, Coastal had won its last 15 games on the Conway floor, including eight straight against conference opponents, prior to the defeat by High Point, Jan. 22. The only other home loss in the last two years was a 70-69 overtime defeat to Radford, Jan. 21, 2006.
MACK NAMED FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK, AGAIN: Coastal Carolina guard Joshua Mack received New Balance Freshman of the Week honors for games played Jan. 8-14, it was announced Jan. 15 by the League office. This marks the fourth time this season that Mack has earned the conference's weekly honor, the second most ever by a CCU player as current junior Jack Leasure tied a Big South record by earning the award six times in 2004-05 en route to Freshman of the Year accolades.
Mack averaged 15.0 points and 53.6 percent from the field (15-of-28) in three games last week, helping the Chanticleers to two wins. He scored in double figures in each game, including 16 points in Coastals first road win of the season at UNC Asheville, Jan. 8. Mack tied his career-high with 19 points vs. Savannah State, Jan. 10, and added 10 points, five assists and three steals in a four-point loss at Radford. On the week, Mack was 10-of-19 from three-point range (52.6 percent), 5-of-6 from the line (83.3 percent) and averaged 4.3 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals.
LEASURE NAMED PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Coastal Carolina guard Jack Leasure was selected as the Big South Conference Choice Hotels Mens Basketball Player of the Week for games played Jan. 2-7, it was announced by the League office.
Leasure broke through last week with his best back-to-back games of the season, averaging 22.0 points in leading the Chanticleers to two wins. He scored a season-high 24 points, going 7-of-11 from the field, 6-of-8 from three-point range and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe, along with three assists and two steals in Coastals win over McNeese State. He followed that with 20 points, hitting 6-of-11 treys, as well as three assists and two steals in Saturdays win over Charleston Southern. Leasure tallied 11 of his 20 points -- including three triples -- in the closing seven-and-a-half minutes to seal the win. On the week, Leasure was 14-of-26 from the field (53.8 percent), 12-of-19 from long range (63.2 percent), 4-of-4 from the line (1.000 percent) and tallied 3.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.5 rebounds.
IF YOU BELIEVE IN FATE: And if you are a Chanticleer supporter, you have to feel good heading into Big South action. Last year, Coastal was over .500 in non-conference action entering the league and went 12-4 to finish second in the regular season and eventually advance to the Big South Championship game. This year, Coastal also started conference play at .500 for the second straight year, the first time that has occurred since the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons and both those squads finished above .500 overall. The 1992-93 squad won the Big South Tournament title and earned the league's NCAA Tournament berth. Coastal will play a home-and-home non-conference series with Savannah State in the middle of the season to make up for the loss of Birmingham-Southern on the schedule.
SCHEDULE CHANGE FOR SPORTSOUTH: The Coastal Carolina-Winthrop clash at Kimbel Arena, Sat., Feb. 24, has been moved from 4:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. to allow SportSouth to televise the game. As part of that schedule change, the Coastal Carolina-High Point women's basketball game has been moved back to 5 p.m.
COASTAL TO PLAY IN ESPNU BRACKETBUSTERS: For the first time in the program's history, Coastal Carolina has been chosen as one of the Big South Conference's teams in the ESPNU BracketBusters event. ESPNU will televise five selected games from around the country. The pairings will be announced live on ESPNU, Monday, January 29 at 6 p.m.
MACK GETTING FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK HONORS FOR HOLIDAY PLAY: Coastal Carolina guard Joshua Mack received New Balance Freshman of the Week honors for games played Dec. 18-Jan. 1, it was announced by the League office.
Mack averaged 12.0 points in three games for the Chanticleers, scoring in double figures each contest. He had 10 points, four rebounds and three steals vs. College of Charleston, Dec. 18, tallied 14 points, three assists and four three-pointers at Florida State, Dec. 21, and notched 12 points, four assists and hit 57.1 percent from long range (4-of-7) vs. St. Andrews, Dec. 29. Mack was 13-of-35 (37.1 percent) from the field and 10-of-24 (41.7 percent) from three-point range, in addition to 2.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game.
SWEEPING THE BIG SOUTH AWARDS: Coastal Carolina forward Moses Sonko has been selected as the Big South Conference Choice Hotels Mens Basketball Player of the Week for games played Dec. 11-17, while Chanticleers guard Joshua Mack received New Balance Freshman of the Week honors, it was announced Dec. 18 by the League office.
Sonko averaged 22.0 points on 67.9 percent (19-of-28) shooting from the floor in just 20.0 minutes per game in two contests. In an overtime loss at South Carolina State, Sonko was 9-of-16 (56.2 percent) from the floor and 4-of-5 from the line for a team-high 22 points. He also added three offensive rebounds. Then Dec. 16 vs. Brevard, Sonko again dropped in 22 points on 10-of-12 from the floor (83.3 percent), and was 2-of-2 from long range. Sonko, who entered the week averaging 13.8 points, also had 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game, and now leads Coastal in scoring for the first time in his career.
Mack averaged 13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.0 steals in two games. At South Carolina State, Dec. 13, he posted a career-high 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting (63.6 percent) and hit 5-of-8 from three-point range, including the one that sent the game into overtime. Mack also added three rebounds and five assists at SCSU. He then had seven points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals in limited action against Brevard, Dec. 16.
WALK-ONS GETTING THE STAGE: In the home win over Southern Virginia, Nov. 29, two walk-ons got a chance to play their most minutes in a Coastal uniform. Junior David Long and sophomore Ashton Lawrence got in with just over three minutes to play in the contest. Long score one point, grabbed a career-best three rebounds and had his first collegiate block, while Lawrence tallied a career-best four points and added another career-high with three rebounds.
Long then followed it up with his first career start at South Carolina State, Dec. 13. He played a career-best 19 minutes and had three assists, one rebound and one steal in the contest. Long then posted career bests of five points and four assists in the win over Brevard.
A new walk-on saw action against Brevard, as sophomore Michael Ward played four minutes, hitting his only shot for two points, grabbed one rebounds and dished out one assist.
THE FIRST YEAR WAS A GOOD START: For head coach Buzz Peterson accomplishing much in Coastal annals. Among first year CCU coaches, he led last year's team to more victories (20) and Big South wins (12) than any previous first-year Coastal coach. He also engineered a 10-win turnaround from last season's 10-19 mark, the third-best in school history and seventh best in Division I basketball last season.
SOME BIG ACCOMPLISHMENTS LAST YEAR: The Chanticleers have some significant accomplishments in the 2005-06 season. Coastal posted its first winning season, both overall and in the Big South, since 1993-94 when CCU was 15-11 and 10-8 in the league. Coastal's 20 wins were the most since the 1992-93 team went 22-10 and the 12 league victories were the most since that same team was 12-4. Additionally, the Chants' 14 home victories last year were the most since the program went Division I during the 1985-86 season.
MORE HISTORY ACHIEVED: Digging into the historical archives of Coastal basketball, last year's team made its mark on the record books.
Among the team records, Coastal's 20 wins tied for the seventh-most in school history, while the Chanticleers hit 241 three-pointers, setting a new single-season school record. Coastal's free-throw percentage of 74.4 percent (381-for-512) was the top single-season mark in school annals, while last year's team ranked 10th in assists (460) and eighth in blocked shots (64).
INDIVIDUALS IN THE COASTAL RECORD BOOKS: Several Coastal players added their name to the school's records list, both for a single season and for their career.
Last year, guard Jack Leasure broke the school and league's three-pointers made record, a mark set at 125. His 535 points last year rank 10th all-time. Junior forward Moses Sonko finished fifth in single-season free-throw percentage at 84.2 percent and sixth in field-goal percentage at 55.6 percent.
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 ninth year as "Voice of the Chanticleers". In addition, there will be Live Game Stats of all CCU home basketball games on the Internet.