CONWAY, SC The Coastal Carolina University mens basketball team took an early lead and built it throughout for a 70-54 home win over UNC Asheville, Mon., Jan. 31 at Kimbel Arena. Coastal goes to 7-13 and 4-4 in the Big South, while UNC Asheville goes to 7-13 and 4-5 in league play.
UNCA took the first lead of the game on Omar Collingtons (Decatur, Ga./Decatur) jumper less than a minute into the game, but that would be the last lead the Bulldogs would enjoy in the first half. Coastal took the lead for good on a three-pointer by freshman Jack Leasure (Rochester, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit) with 16:43 to play in the first half. The game was tight at 15-14 before CCU went on a 11-0 run to take a 26-14 advantage with five minutes to go in the half. UNCA would fight back and cut it to just 32-25 at the intermission after Collingtons three pointer with six seconds to play in the half.
Neither team shot well in the first half, both shooting under 40 percent from the field, but Coastal dominated the boards, outrebounding the Bulldogs, 28-19. Leasure led CCU in scoring in the first half with seven while junior Pele Paelay (Derwood, Md./Magruder) and sophomore Moses Sonko (E. Greenwich, R.I./Classical) each chipped in six. UNCA was led by senior Bryan McCullough (Salisbury, N.C./North Rowan) with eight.
The Chants came out running in the second half and did not allow UNCA to come any closer than nine points the entire second half. A fastbreak dunk by Paelay at the 12:57 mark gave the Chants a 46-35 lead and sparked a 7-0 run that put the game out of reach. Coastal was effective in transition in the second half, outscoring the visiting Bulldogs 12-2 in the period.
Paelay led the Chants with 16 points, while sophomore Adrian Gross (Galesville, Md./Southern) finished with his third double-double of the season with 12 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. The 16 boards tied for the 10th best single-game performance in school history. Leasure added 10 points and senior Colin Stevens (Phoenix, Md./Delany) chipped in 11 off the bench. Sophomore K.J. Garland (Greensboro, N.C./Greensboro Day) led UNCA with 19 points and three boards.
The Chants controlled the boards, as they outrebounded the Bulldogs 58-38, while holding UNCA to just 32 percent shooting from the field. Coastals offense ran effectively with 20 fast break points and converted its 19 offensive boards into 19 points.
Coastal returns to the floor, Thu., Feb. 3, traveling down US 17 to Charleston to take on the Charleston Southern Buccaneers for a 7 p.m. tipoff.