ROCK HILL, S.C. -- Coastal Carolina mens basketball squad came back from a 10-point halftime deficit but could not pull it out in the closing minute, losing a 65-63 Big South Conference contest at two-time defending champion Winthrop, 65-63, Jan. 27. With their second consecutive loss, the Chanticleers fell to 11-9 and 4-3 in league play, while the Eagles advanced to 17-4 and a perfect 7-0 in the conference. The game was the first sell-out ever in the 25-year history of the Winthrop Coliseum.
Coastal got the first points of the contest on a three-pointer by junior guard Jack Leasure but the host Eagles went on a 22-8 run over the next eight minutes, sparked by a pair of three-pointers each from Chris Gaynor and Michael Jenkins, to take a 22-11 lead with 11:23 to go in the first. The Chants fought back with an 11-4 surge to cut it back to 26-22 just three-and-a-half minutes later. Another push from Winthrop got the lead out to as many as 12 in the opening period before the hosts entered the halftime lockerrroom with a 38-28 advantage.
The Chants came out of the intermission and immediately went on the attack, erasing the halftime deficit with a 17-7 surge that tied the game at 45 with 15:48 remaining in regulation. Coastal then re-took the lead on a layup by Moses Sonko and added to it with another three by Leasure to make it 50-45 with 12:00 to play. The lead eventually grew to seven at 56-49 with 7:06 to play, but Winthrop made another late push, tying the game at 58 with just over four minutes to go. From there, baskets and free throws were exchanged until it was knotted at 63 with 2:32 remaining in the contest. In the clsoing minutes, Craig Bradshaw and Gaynor each hit a free throw to make it 65-63 with 32 seconds to play. Coastal had the last possession and, after a scramble for the ball, a catch-and-shoot by sophomore forward Joseph Harris came up just short as time expired.
CCU finished the contest at 47.3 percent (26-for-55) from the floor, including 6-for-17 from the three-point arc. Winthrop was 43.4 percent (23-for-53) from the field, with 9-for-22 from three-point territory. The host Eagles won the battle dof the boards 33-29 and also converted 10-of-18 free throws while the Chants were 5-of-6.
Leasure led four Chanticleers in double figures with 17 points, with Everage Richardson adding a career-best 15 on 7-for-10 from the field. Joshua Mack and Moses Sonko added 14 and 12, respectively. In the game, Sonko became just the 30th player in league history to record 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in their career, finishing the game with 1,000 points and 506 rebounds. Jenkins led all scorers with 19, while Craig Bradshaw had a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds.
Coastal continues the road swing quickly, heading two hours south to take on in-state rival Charleston Southern, Mon., Jan. 29. Tipoff for the Big South tilt at the CSU Fieldhouse is slated for 7 p.m.