CONWAY, S.C. -- Coastal Carolina limited UNC Asheville to just 56 points but could not overcome a poor shooting night and fell to the Big South Conference leaders, 56-52-, Jan. 28. With their third straight conference loss, the Chanticleers to 9-10 and 2-4 in Big South play, while the Bulldogs are now 17-4 and 6-0 in league action.
CCU jumped out to a 5-0 lead on a layup by forward Phil Wallace and a three-pointer by guard Jack Leasure, but UNCA came back with five of their own on points by Vincent James, John Williams and K.J. Garland to tie it at five with 14:39 to go in the first. The game was tied three times and Coastal held the lead twice more before the Bulldogs took the lead for good on a three-pointer by Bryan Smithson to go up 16-13 with 8:09 to play in the first. UNC Asheville got up as many as six at 21-15 with 4:56 remaining and led by four at the break, 25-21.
Coastal closed it down to just two at 29-27 just over three minutes into the second half, but five straight UNCA points pushed the margin back to seven. Again, the Chants closed the game to two with 14:04 to go at 34-32 but this time an 6-0 run by the Bulldogs, capped by Reid Augst's layup, to go up 40-32. The Chants again fougt back and got it down to one, 48-47, when guard Steven Sexton canned a three-pointer, but a pair of free throws and a jumper by center Kenny George along with Smithson's jumper in the paint made it 54-47 with under two minutes to play. CCU got no closer than four the remainder of the way.
The Chanticleers struggled from the floor, hitting just 28.8 percent (19-of-66) from the field and just 28.6 percent (10-of-35) from the three-point arc, while the Bulldogs were 43.8 percent (21-of-48) from the floor and 30.8 (4-of-13) from the three-point line. UNCA also was 10-of-15 from the line, while CCU was just 4-of-6. Coastal won the battle of the boards, 41-36, while committing just eight turnovers to 10 ofr UNCA. Forward Logan Johnson led Coastal with 11 points and added eight rebounds, while forward Anthony Breeze had a career-high nine boards. Four other players, Breeze, Leasure, Sexton and Chad Ferguson, each chipped in eight points. UNCA was paced by George's game-high 15 points, seven rebounds and six blocked shots, while Garland and Smithson added 12 and 11, respectively.
CCU will continue the three-game homestand when it hosts in-state rival Charleston Southern, Sat., Feb. 2. The tip-off is set for 1 p.m. at Kimbel Arena and will be televised on SportSouth.