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Men's Basketball To Host Rematch With Winthrop

       

Men's Basketball To Host Rematch With Winthrop

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COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL

CHANTICLEERS vs. EAGLES

Coastal Carolina's Kimbel Arena (1,039) ~ Conway, South Carolina
Saturday, February 4, 2006 ~ 2 p.m.
www.GoCCUSports.com

COASTAL CLIPS

CHANTS CONTINUE HOMESTAND HOSTING WINTHROP: Coastal Carolina plays the second of a three-game homestand this afternoon, hosting defending Big South Conference champion Winthrop. This game is being televised on South Carolina E-TV, with Emerson Phillips (play-by-play), Nate Ross (color) and Rebecca Ferrara (sideline) handling the call.

CCU opened the homestand with a 72-60 victory over Liberty, Jan. 28, and will host High Point Feb. 6 to wrap up this home swing.

THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Buzz Peterson (North Carolina, '86) is in his first season at the helm of the Chanticleers and holds a 176-117 overall coaching record in nine-plus seasons. Last season, Coastal posted a 10-19 mark, including 7-9 in Big South Conference play.

Gregg Marshall (Randolph-Macon, ’85) is in his eighth season at Winthrop with a 156-75 record at WU and as a head coach overall. Last season, Winthrop was 27-6 overall and 15-1 in the Big South, winning the regular season and tournament titles. The Eagles return all five starters and 12 letterwinners from last year's squad.

SERIES HISTORY: This is the 60th meeting all-time between Coastal and Winthrop, with the Chanticleers holding a 32-27 advantage. This is a series dominated by homecourt advantage, with CCU holding a 20-9 lead at Kimbel Arena. That mark includes last year's Big South opener for both teams, as the Chants got a 76-68 victory. Just two games ago, the Chanticleers ended Winthrop's 22-game home winning streak with a 64-57 victory in the Winthrop Coliseum, Jan. 24. (Recaps and box scores of last year's meetings are available on pages 8 and 9.)

PETERSON AGAINST THE EAGLES: This will be the fourth 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 1-0 at Coastal against the Eagles.

COASTAL SWEEPS WEEKLY BIG SOUTH AWARDS: Coastal Carolina University junior forward Moses Sonko has been selected as the Big South Conference Choice Hotels Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for games played Jan. 23-29, while Chanticleer teammate Joseph Harris received New Balance Freshman of the Week honors, it was announced by the League office, Jan. 30.

Sonko had a stellar week for the Chanticleers, averaging 13.0 points, 11.0 rebounds, 4.5 offensive boards and two steals a game, while shooting 52.9 percent from the floor (9-of-17) and 88.9 percent from the line (8-of-9) in leading Coastal to a pair of wins last week. In CCU’s 64-57 upset win at defending Big South champion Winthrop, Sonko recorded his first career double-double with 10 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, along with two steals in helping snap the Eagles’ 24-game Conference opponent win streak. He added 16 points (second-best of the year), 11 caroms and two assists and two steals in Saturday’s win over Liberty. Sonko’s double-double was the first for a Coastal player since Feb. 3, 2005.

Harris helped the Chanticleers pick up a pair of key Big South wins last week, averaging 9.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 70.0 percent shooting from the floor and 80.0 percent from the charity stripe. He tallied six points on 3-of-3 shooting, along with five rebounds and two steals at Winthrop, and narrowly missed a double-double with 12 points and nine boards against Liberty. Harris recorded a blocked shot in each game as well.

CLOSE CALLS IN THE BIG SOUTH A REGULAR FOR CCU: Games in the Big South are always a battle, and the last two-plus years' numbers prove it for Coastal Carolina. In 2003-04, 11 of CCU's 16 Big South contests were decided by nine points or less, with Coastal holding a 4-7 mark in those games. Last year, CCU was 4-4 in its Big South games decided by nine or less.

Heading into today's game, the three of the last four games for the Chanticleers have each been decided by seven points or less. The first two were by a single point, with Coastal defeating Charleston Southern, 63-62, Jan. 19, and then dropping the 70-69 overtime loss to Radford, Jan. 21. Last time out, Coastal won at Winthrop, 64-57, Jan. 24, for its first road win of the year.

SOME KEY ITEMS FOR COASTAL’S VICTORIES: Several trends developed in regards to Coastal winning in the 2005-06 season. Coastal is 9-4 when leading at the break, 9-1 when ahead with five minutes to play and 8-2 when scoring at least 70 points. Defense is always a key, as Coastal is 7-1 when holding opponents to less than 70 points, as well as 8-3 when forcing at least 15 turnovers. The Chants are also 9-2 when giving up less than 15 turnovers and 7-2 when shooting at least 45 percent from the floor. Another interesting note is that when guard Jack Leasure leads Coastal is scoring, the Chants are 7-2.

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 was 9-1 in non-conference play during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, with the only loss a 73-72 heartbreaker to the College of Charleston early in the 2003-04 season. Coastal was a combined 17-9 at home over the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, and finished 8-5 in 2004-05. CCU did open the 2005-06 home schedule with a resounding 70-35 victory over Coker. The Chanticleers are 9-1 this season at home and now 18-3 since the start of the 2002-03 season in non-conference games at home and 34-15 overall.

FROM DOWNTOWN...BANG!: Sophomore Jack Leasure continues to believe -- and prove -- that outside the three-point arc is his domain. Through 18 games this season, the guard has hit 76 three-pointers, an average of 4.0 per game, and is just seven behind KeKe Hicks (1992-93) sophomore record of 83. As of Jan. 30, he ranked second in the nation in three pointers per game.

As a team, Coastal is also among the nation's leaders in triples. The Chanticleers are averaging 8.1 threes per game, which as of Jan. 30 ranks them 36th in Division I.

THE STARTING LINEUP HAS FIRMED UP: Coastal Carolina, under first year head coach Buzz Peterson, has tweaked the lineup throughout the first 19 contests of the year. In the first 13 games, the Chanticleers had nine different starting lineups. Three players (Pele Paelay, Jack Leasure and Moses Sonko) have started all 19 games. Guard Mario Sisinni has joined the starting lineup in 12 of the last 15 contests.

CCU has used the same starting lineup in the last twogames, with Paelay, Leasure, Sonko, guard Colin Stevens and forward Joseph Harris opening the games for Coastal.

DRAINING AND DISHING: Sophomore guard Jack Leasure has been getting the job done in a variety of ways early this year. Leasure continues to hit the outside shot, as he has drained 76 triples on 40.2 percent shooting this year and is leading the Chanticleers in scoring at 17.6 points per game. However, he has also taken on some point guard duties and made that work, as he is averaging 4.4 assists per game, including a career-best nine dishes in two wins this year, as well as 1.7 steals per contest.

After averaging 22.5 points a game during the week of Dec. 12-18, including a career-best 33 in the win over MEAC-preseason favorite South Carolina State, Leasure was named Big South Player of the Week for the first time in his career Dec. 19.

AT YOUR LEASURE: Sophomore Jack Leasure was impressive on the offensive end of the floor in his freshman season. He averaged 14.5 points (seventh in the Big South) and hit 42.5 percent (85-of-200) from the three-point arc, second best in the Big South Conference. He also led the league and ranked 29th nationally in three-pointers per game with 2.93. Leasure improved his averages to 15.8 points (third in the Big South) and 2.8 rebounds per game in league play.

This season, Leasure leads the Chants in scoring, averaging a team-high 17.6 points a game (sixth in the Big South) and adding 3.5 rebounds. He has hit a league-best 76 three-pointers (4.0 per game), including a career-best nine in a win over Chowan, Dec. 19. He currently ranks third on CCU's all-time three-pointers chart with 161 in just 48 games. His nine three pointers tied for the second-best performance in school history, while his seven three-pointers against Coker, Nov. 30, and St. Andrews, Jan. 3, tied for the fifth best single games in Coastal history. He also ranks third the Big South with 4.37 assists per game and has added 32 steals (fifth in the Big South) so far this year.

DOUBLING THE DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR SONKO: Junior forward Moses Sonko has been seeing double the last two games for the Chanticleers. Sonko recorded his first career double-double, Jan. 24 at Winthrop, posting 10 points and a career-best 11 rebounds in the road win over the defending Big South champions. In fact, that was the first double-double for Coastal this year and the first since Adrian Gross had one against Charleston Southern, Feb. 3, 2005, with 17 points and 10 boards. He then followed it up with 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Chanticleers to a home win over Liberty, Jan. 28.

STEPPING UP THE DEFENSE: In their 10 victories, the Chanticleers have made the difference on the defensive end of the floor. In the 10 wins, Coastal has given up just 61.4points per game and just 41.6 percent (208-for-500) shooting from the floor. Additionally, the Chants have forced 6.0 more turnovers a game in the wins, including 10.2 steals per game. Coastal has also outrebounded its opponents by 2.9 caroms a game in the 10 victories.

This doesn't mean Coastal hasn't been solid offensively as well in the wins. The Chants have hit on 47.8 percent (279-for-584) of their shots from the floor, including 38.1 percent (88-for-231) from the three-point arc.

Individually, guard Jack Leasure has been the leader for the Chants in the 10 wins, averaging 21.1 points per game in the victories. Additionally, Leasure has hit 47.9 percent (70-for-146) of his shots from the floor, including 48 three pointers and 42.9 percent (48-for-112) shooting from beyond the arc. He also has 3.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game in the 10 victories.

PAELAY GETS IT DONE: Senior Pele Paelay made things happen offensively for Coastal in the 2004-05 season. Paelay knocked down a career-high 27 points and made it his first career double-double with 11 rebounds at Evansville, Nov. 23. He later followed up that performance with 22 points and 11 rebounds at UNC Greensboro, Nov. 23. Paelay had a career-high 38 points and eight rebounds in the win at VMI, Jan. 10. The 38 points are the sixth most in school history and best in the league this year, while his 14 field goals tied for third in CCU annals. For the season, Paelay averaged a league-bests of 16.8 points and 2.4 steals per game and added 6.0 rebounds. He also led CCU in scoring 15 times and 12 times in rebounding, while tallying double-digit scoring in 27 of 29 contests. He was the only player in the Big South Conference to rank in the top 10 in scoring (1st), rebounding (6th) and steals (1st) and was 11th in assists.

This season, Paelay is averaging 13.8 points (eighth in the Big South) and 4.9 rebounds (20th in the league) in 16 contests. He had his best game of the season so far at VMI, Jan. 7, scoring 24 points and adding seven rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. He also has 996 points in his career, just four from becoming the 13th player in Coastal history to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

Prior to that, his top game had been at Minnesota, where he tallied a game-high 23 points on 8-for-12 shooting, including 4-for-7 from the three-point arc. He added two rebounds, five assists and one steal in the effort. He tied that mark with 23 points in the home win over Jacksonville, Dec. 11.

STEVENS STEPPING UP IN RECENT GAMES: Senior guard Colin Stevens has made his mark for the Chanticleers in recent days. In the first 13 games, Stevens was averaging 2.2 points in 10.2 minutes per game and had more turnovers (17) than assists (15). In the last six games, including two starts, Stevens has averaged 9.7 points per game in 23.0 minutes, hitting 44.1 percent (15-for-34) of his shots from the field and a stellar 92.0 percent (23-for-25) from the charity stripe. He has dished out 16 assists to just five turnovers. In these six games, he has had his top three offensive outputs of the year, scoring a season-high 18 points at Birmingham-Southern, Jan. 14, and then 12 points, including a pair of free throws with 4.4 seconds left, in the win over Charleston Southern, Jan. 19. He then added 13 points, five rebounds and six assists to lead CCU to its first road win of the year at Winthrop, Jan. 24. During the last six games, Coastal has posted a 4-2 mark, all in league play.

SONKO CONTINUING THE SOLID PLAY: Junior forward Moses Sonko has made strides from his sophomore year and been solid for Coastal in 2005-06. Last year, Sonko averaged 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game, starting in 13 of the 27 games he played in. This season, his numbers are up, as he has started all 19 contests and is averaging 10.7 points (20th in the Big South), a team-best 5.2 rebounds (19th in the league) and 25.3 minutes per game. He has scored in double figures in 10 games, including his first career double-double in the win at Winthrop, Jan. 24, with 10 points and a career-high 11 rebounds, and second double-double against Liberty, Jan. 28, with 16 points and 11 boards. He earned his first career Big South Player of the Week award, Jan. 30, after posting those back-to-back double-doubles.

GETTING THE FIRST ROAD WIN... AT WINTHROP: The Coastal Carolina men's basketball squad bounced back and snapped an eight-game road losing skid with a 64-57 win at defending Big South Conference champion Winthrop, Jan. 24. With their first road win of the season, the Chanticleers snapped Winthrop's 23-game home winning streak, as well as the Eagles' 24-game conference win streak, dating back to Jan. 5, 2005 when WU lost the Big South opener at Coastal.

Winthrop got on the board first on a three pointer from guard Torrell Martin, but Coastal took it from there. The Chants went on a 14-3 run to take a 14-6 margin with 13:03 to go in the first half. The Eagles fought back, eventually getting the lead back at 20-19 on a pair of Craig Bradshaw free throws. WU eventually pushed the lead to as many as 31-25 with with two minutes to go in the game. However, guard Pele Paelay's three-pointer in the final minute to cut the halftime lead to 31-28 Winthrop.

Coastal hit a solid 50.0 percent (12-for-24) from the field in the opening period, while Winthrop was limited to just 38.5 percent (10-for-26), though the Eagles hit five three pointers. WU also got to the free throw line eight times, canning six, while the Chanticleers hit their only free throw attempt of the half. WU held a slim lead on the boards 15-13 and had outscored Coastal 8-5 off turnovers.

CCU was led by Paelay's 10 points, while guard Colin Stevens tallied seven in the first half. Bradshaw paced the host Eagles with 12, while Martin had nine.

In the second half, it continued to be a classic in the Coliseum, as the largest lead by either team until the end was six. Winthrop led most of the half until Coastal was able to knot the game at 47 with 5:49 to go. The host Eagles pushed it back out to three on a three-pointer by Martin, but Coastal took its first lead of the second half on back-to-back buckets by forward Moses Sonko and forward Chad Ferguson, going up 51-50 with 4:29 to play. Winthrop re-took the lead on a three-pointer by Bradshaw with 3:03 to play, giving the Eagles a 54-53 advantage. With a one-point lead at 55-54, Coastal stopped Winthrop on four consecutive possessions, while guard Jack Leasure canned a jumper and a back-breaking three-pointer on back-to-back trips down the floor to put Coastal up 60-54 with 42 seconds to play. CCU closed the game on an 11-3 run, including going 4-for-4 at the free throw line in the final minute of action.

The Chants hits 50.0 percent (25-for-50) for the game, while the Eagles were held to just 36.5 percent (19-for-52). Winthrop did manage 11 three-pointers, but Coastal won the battle of the boards 31-29. CCU also outscored Winthrop 18-10 off turnovers. The Chanticleers also had the better of it in the paint, posting 24 points to just eight for the host Eagles.

Coastal had four players in double figures, with Stevens and Leasure each scoring 13, while Paelay and Sonko each chipped in 10. Sonko also made it his first career double-double with a career-best 11 boards. Winthrop was paced by Bradshaw and Martin with 18 each.

AN OVERTIME HEARTBREAKING LOSS TO RADFORD: Guard Andre Bynum hit a leaning jumper with 11.1 seconds to play in overtime to lift Radford to a 70-69 Big South Conference victory over host Coastal Carolina, Sat., Jan. 21. Coastal suffered its first home loss in nine home games this season.

This was a classic battle throughout the game, as the teams traded leads 23 times and were tied another seven. Coastal got the first basket, but Radford took it from there, going on an 8-1 run to take the early lead. Coastal battled back to take the lead at 11-10 with 10:54 to go in the first half and eventually building a 27-18 lead with 3:02 to go until intermission. However, Radford came back with the final eight points of the half, all by guard Whit Holcomb-Faye to cut the lead to 27-26 CCU at the break.

Both teams hit 11 shots from the field in the first half, including three triples each. Radford had a slight rebound edge in the opening half 18-17. Holcomb-Faye led all scorers with 13 points, while Coastal was paced by guard Steven Sexton with seven, as eight Chanticleers scored in the first half.

The Highlanders went on a 13-4 run to open the second half and take a 39-31 lead early in the second half. CCU battled back with the next 10 points over 3:54 to re-take the lead at 41-39 with 11:59 remaining in second half. The two teams battled the remainder of the half, with neither team taking more than a four-point lead the remainder of the game. With CCU leading 62-61, Bynum went to the basket, scoring a basket and drawing a controversial blocking foul with just 31 second to play. Bynum hit the free throw to put the Highlanders up 64-62 with 31 second to go. After Coastal missed a shot, RU forward Reggie McIntyre missed the front end of the one-and-one to give the Chants one last chance with 11 seconds to play. Coastal went down the floor quickly, where guard Pele Paelay found forward Matt Brennan for a lay-in with 1.1 seconds to play, sending the game to overtime.

The teams exchanged leads four times in the overtime, but the Chanticleers, who were just 1-for-8 from the field in the extra period, had control in the late stages after a pair of free throws by guard Colin Stevens gave Coastal a three-point lead with 46 seconds to go. Holcomb-Faye hit a bucket with 31 seconds to go. CCU had the ball, but trying to the clock out, the Chants turned it over, leading to Bynum's game winner. Coastal had one last chance, but Paelay's off-balance jumper fell short, giving Radford the road victory.

CCU hit just 41.0 percent (25-for-61) from the floor in the game, while Radford was 47.5 percent (29-for-61) from the field. CCU won the rebound battle 39-36, but couldn't convert well at the free throw line, hitting just 12-for-19 at the stripe.

Coastal was led by Brennan's 14 points and season-high nine rebounds, while guards Jack Leasure and Sexton tallied 13 and 10 points, respectively. Radford had four in double figures, led by Holcomb-Faye's 28 points, while forward Chris Oliver chipped in 17 points and eight rebounds.

TONIGHT'S INJURY REPORT: Forward Logan Johnson (right foot) is out for the year.

THE WINDING ROAD HAS NOT BEEN KIND: After posting a 4-4 record on the road in the Big South in 2003-04, CCU was 2-6 on the road in the Big South last season, with wins at VMI (Jan. 10) and Birmingham-Southern (Jan. 24) and 2-14 in road games overall.

CCU dropped its first eight road games of the 2005-06 season at Jacksonville State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, UNC Wilmington, Eastern Kentucky, VMI, High Point and Birmimgham-Southern, before getting the dramatic 64-57 win over defending Big South champion Winthrop, Jan. 24. As a matter of fact, Coastal has lost its last 16 non-conference road games, dating back to the 2003-04 season opener at Marist. With the win at Winthrop, CCU snapped a 13-game road losing streak overall, including an eight-game Big South road streak dating back midway through the Big South schedule last year.

YOUTH IS SERVED THIS YEAR: Of the 16 players on the Coastal roster to open this season, eight are freshmen new to the team, while a ninth redshirted last year. Among the returners, there are two seniors, two juniors and three sophomores.

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 eighth year as "Voice of the Chanticleers". In addition, a returning feature this year will be Live Game Stats of all CCU home basketball games on the Internet.