COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. TIGERS
Savannah State's Tiger Arena (6,000) ~ Savannah, Georgia
Thursday, February 1, 2007 ~ 7 p.m.
WRAPPING UP THE THREE-GAME ROAD SWING IN SAVANNAH: The Coastal Carolina mens basketball squad will play its third straight road game, the final of this trip, when it travels to Savannah, Ga. to play a non-conference game with Savannah State, Feb. 1. This is the second half of a home-and-home series this year, with CCU having taken the first game in Kimbel Arena, 83-56, Jan. 10. This three-game road swing started with a heartbreaking 65-63 loss at two-time defending Big South Conference champion Winthrop, Jan. 27, followed by a touch 86-77 loss at in-state rival Charleston Southern two nights later.
THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Buzz Peterson (North Carolina, '86) is in his second season at the helm of the Chanticleers with a 31-20 record and holds a 197-128 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.
Horace Broadnax (Georgetown, '86) is in his second season as head coach at Savannah State with an 11-43 record at SSU and 53-131 in his seventh year as a head coach overall. Last season, the Tigers posted a 2-28 mark. Savannah State returns four starters and eight letterwinners to this years team.
SERIES WITH SAVANNAH STATE: The first-ever meeting between the Chanticleers and the Tigers occurred earlier this season, with Coastal getting an 83-56 victory at home. Freshman guard Joshua Mack led all scorers with a career-high 19 points in the victory. (Complete game stats and recap on page 9.)
LAST TIME OUT - A ROAD LOSS AT CHARLESTON SOUTHERN: Coastal Carolina mens basketball squad got behind late in the first half and could never overcome the deficit in an 86-77 Big South Conference loss at Charleston Southern, Jan. 29.
Coastal had turnovers on each of its first three possessions and allowed CSU to score the first nine points of the contest in just two-and-a-half minutes. The Chants answered and eventually took the lead on a Jack Leasure three-pointer to make it 13-12 with 11:34 remaining in the first half. After several lead changes, CSU took the lead back at 23-20 on a three by Shelton Carter and extended the lead with a 10-0 run to make it 30-20 Bucs. The lead continued to grow to as many as 14 at 40-26 with 3:17 remaining before Coastal made a late push to cut the lead to nine at 44-35 heading into the halftime break.
The Chants rallied in the second half and cut it to as few as two points at 61-59 with eight minutes to go, but could get no closer down the stretch. The margin was cut to four on four separate occasions in the last four minutes but CSU got the key baskets in that time to earn the victory.
Coastal hit on 53.6 percent (30-for-56) from the field, but CSU was even better at 60.4 percent (32-for-53), including 10-for-20 (50.0 percent) from the three-point arc. The Bucs won the board war 26-23 and hit 12-for-15 at the free throw stripe, including 5-for-6 in the final minute. Both teams had 18 turnovers in the contest.
The Chants were led by Moses Sonko with 22 points, while Everage Richardson and Leasure chipped in 16 and 11, respectively. Donnell Covington also tallied 22 for CSU, while Shelton Carter had a career-high 20 and Dwayne Jackson scored 18.
SEVERAL KEYS IN COASTAL WINS: There are several important factors for Coastal to be victorious. The Chants are 10-1 when leading at the intermission and 11-1 when ahead with five minutes to play in the game. CCU is 10-2 when holding opponents to less than 70 points in a game and 9-5 when shooting better than 45 percent from the floor. Additionally, Coastal is 9-2 when shooting more free throws than their opponents and 8-2 when outrebounding their foes.
Individually, the Chants are 4-3 when junior guard Jack Leasure leads the squad in scoring and 5-3 when senior forward Moses Sonko is the leading board getter.
SONKO MAKES HISTORY IN THREE WAYS: Senior forward Moses Sonko has made his mark on both the Coastal Carolina and Big South Conference career record books this season. In the win against Liberty, Jan. 20, Sonko reached the 500 career rebound plateau, just the 39th player in league history to ever reach that. Then at Winthrop, Jan. 27, Sonko tallied 12 points to become the 15th member of CCU's 1,000-Point Club and the 30th ever member (and fourth from CCU) of the elite Big South group that have 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in their career. He currently has 1,022 career points (currently 14th on the Coastal career scoring chart) and 509 career rebounds.
RANKING NATIONALLY: Coastal ranks in the top 85 in several national categories as a team, as of Jan. 28. CCU is 18th in steals at 9.5 per game and 22nd nationally in assists at 17.2 per game. Coastal also ranks 80th in field-goal percentage at 46.4 percent.
Individually, junior guard Jack Leasure ranks 30th in three-pointers per game (3.1), while senior forward Moses Sonko is 24th in field goal percentage at 59.8 percent. Sophomore forward Joseph Harris is 72nd with 8.0 rebounds per contest, and freshman guard Joshua Mack is 87th in three-point field goal percentage (38.1).
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 10 losses, the Chanticleers have not won the board battle, losing six and tying one with an average margin against of 6.8 rebounds a game.
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 7.9 boards per contest and ranks fourth the squad at 9.1 points per game. He has improved those averages by going higher in league play with 11.8 points and 8.4 rebounds in eight conference games. He has at least shared for team-high honors in rebounding in 13 of the first 21 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 and 40th on the Big South list with 1,250 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.
SONKO 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 15.0 points per game, leading the squad and eighth in the conference. 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 29-for-31 (93.5 percent) thus far on the season. Leasure has been good at the three-point arc as well, as he has hit 62 three-pointers in the first 21 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 51 games, Leasure has led Coastal in scoring on 21 occasions, posting a 17-4 mark, while when Sonko is the leading board grabber, CCU is 10-5. Harris has led the Chants on the glass in 25 of those contests, with CCU having an 16-9 mark in those games as well.
SONKO SHOOTING IT WELL: Senior forward Moses Sonko has been more assertive on the offensive end of the floor this season. Through Jan. 30, Sonko leads the team and Big South Conference in field goal percentage, now hitting 60.0 percent (135-for-225) of his shots from the floor. On the year, he is also pacing the team in scoring, tallying 15.0 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 62 three pointers in 21 games, an average of 3.0 per contest. For his career, Leasure has knocked down 272 three pointers, just three 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 11th in the league in scoring at 14.2 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 122 of his 144 attempts at the line, a clip of 84.7 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 eight of the last nine games and looks to continue that trend tonight. Getting the nod for Coastal's in those games has been guards Jack Leasure, Joshua Mack and Everage Richardson and forwards Moses Sonko and Joseph Harris, with the group currently 6-3 as starters. The only constants in the lineup this season have been Leasure and Sonko, who have started all 21 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 19th in the league in scoring at 11.4 points per game. He also ranks 10th in the Big South in assists at 3.2 per game, third in three-point field goal percentage at 37.4 percent and seventh in three-pointers made with 2.33 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 for TV games will be announced live on ESPNU, Monday, Jan. 29 at 6 p.m., with the remainder of the schedule announced Tuesday, Jan. 30.
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.
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.