COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. KEYDETS
Coastal Carolina's Kimbel Arena (1,039) ~ Conway, South Carolina
Saturday, February 3, 2007 ~ 2 p.m.
BACK HOME FOR A BATTLE WITH VMI: The Coastal Carolina mens basketball squad returns home off a three-game road swing for a pair of Big South Conference games, starting with today's contest with VMI. Following that, the Chanticleers will host Radford at Kimbel Arena, Mon., Feb. 5 at 7 p.m.
THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Buzz Peterson (North Carolina, '86) is in his second season at the helm of the Chanticleers with a 31-21 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.
Duggar Baucom (UNC Charlotte, 95) is in his second season at VMI with a 17-34 record and in his third year as a head coach overall with a 54-53 mark. Last season, VMI was 7-20 overall and 2-14 in the Big South, finishing ninth. The Keydets return all five starters and 10 letterwinners from last year's squad.
SERIES HISTORY: This is the eighth meeting in the brief series between the two schools, with Coastal having won six of the seven previous meetings. In this year's first meeting, Coastal escaped Lexington with a thrilling 99-97 victory in the closing seconds. Last year, VMI won the series opener at home, 88-77, in the Big South opener for both schools, while the Chanticleers took the 76-63 victory at Kimbel Arena on CCU's Senior Day. (Recaps and box scores of this year's and last year's meetings are available on page 9 and 10.)
PETERSON AGAINST THE KEYDETS: Current CCU head coach Buzz Peterson is very familiar with VMI, having coached Appalachian State for four years when it was in the Southern Conference with VMI. During that time, Peterson was 6-2 versus the Keydets, but just 2-2 in games at Cameron Hall. Additionally, Peterson picked up a seventh win over the Keydets during the 2002-03 season while at Tennessee. He now holds an 9-3 mark overall against VMI.
COASTAL TO TAKE ON CANISIUS IN BRACKETBUSTERS: Coastal Carolina's men's basketball squad will host Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference member Canisius, Sat., Feb. 17 as part of O'Reilly's ESPNU BracketBusters. Time of the game will be announced in the coming days. The Chanticleers are making their first-ever appearance in the event in the program's first-ever meeting with the Golden Griffins. CCU is 1-0 all-time vs. MAAC members, defeating Marist in 2003-04. Canisius played in the mid-season event last year, defeating Youngstown State at home, 75-68. This season, the Big South is 2-0 against the MAAC, with wins over Iona (Winthrop) and Loyola (High Point).
LAST TIME OUT - A HEARTBREAKER AT SAVANNAH STATE: Coastal Carolina mens basketball squad rallied from as many as 15 points down in the second half to take the lead but couldn't hold on in a heartbreaking 66-65 loss at Savannah State, Feb. 1.
Savannah State quietly built a lead in the first half in bits and pieces and eventually took a 13-point margin into the halftime lockerroom, 39-26. Coastal struggled from the field in the first half, hitting just 8-for-30 (26.7 percent) from the field while Savannah State was 58.3 percent (14-for-24). CCU did get to the free throw line 20 times, but could only convert 10 of them.
The Chanticleers battled back in the second half, chipping away through the final 10 minutes and eventually took the lead on a three-pointer by Jack Leasure to make it 58-57 with three minutes to play. Coastal pushed the margin to three at 60-57 on a pair of Leasure free throws, but Josh Obiajunwa scored to cut it to 60-59. Coastal had a 62-60 lead, but in the final minute, Joseph Flegler hit two three pointers, including the eventual game-winner with 18.0 remaining on the clock to put SSU up 66-64. Coastal turned the ball over and After Obiajunwa missed the front end of a one-and-one, Joseph Mack was fouled on the rebound with 0.2 remaining on the clock. Mack converted the first one before the Tigers called time out. The second free throw rattled around and fell out and SSU took home the win.
Coastal ended up at 36.2 percent (21-for-58) from the floor in the game, while Savannah State was a staggering 62.5 percent (25-for-40), including eight three-pointers. Coastal won the battle of the boards 32-30 and scored 37 points off 27 SSU miscues, but free throws hurt the Chants, as they connected on just 18-for-31 (58.1 percent) from the charity stripe.
Leasure led the Chants with 22 points, while Joseph Harris was the only other Coastal player in double figures with 11. Javon Randolph led SSU with 22 points, 20 of them coming in the first half, while Obiajunwa and Flegler each finished with 11.
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 10-3 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 9-3 when shooting more free throws than their opponents and 8-3 when outrebounding their foes.
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 31st 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 1,028 career points (currently 14th on the Coastal career scoring chart) and 515 career rebounds. Sonko will be recognized for these achievements prior to todays game.
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 11 losses, the Chanticleers have not won the board battle, losing six and tying one with an average margin against of 6.2 rebounds a game.
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.
RICHARDSON GETTING IN THE FLOW: Junior transfer Everage Richardson has started to show his growth on the Coastal basketball squad in the last two Big South games. After averaging 6.8 points per game in the first 19 contests this year, Richardson tallied back-to-back career-high point games against the last two Big South opponents. At Winthrop, Richardson had a then career-best 15 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field and then followed it up with a new career best of 16 points at Charleston Southern, hitting on 7-of-11 of his shots from the floor.
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 7.8 boards per contest and ranks fourth the squad at 9.2 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 14 of the 22 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 32nd on the Big South list with 1,272 points, recently surpassing Robert Dowdell (1988-91) at 1,202 points and Brian Penny (1988-91) at 1,208. 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 14.6 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 35-for-39 (89.7 percent) thus far on the season. Leasure has been good at the three-point arc as well, as he has hit 64 three-pointers in the first 22 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 52 games, Leasure has led Coastal in scoring on 22 occasions, posting a 17-5 mark, while when Sonko is the leading board grabber, CCU is 10-5. Harris has led the Chants on the glass in 26 of those contests, with CCU having an 16-10 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 57.6 percent (137-for-238) of his shots from the floor. On the year, he is also pacing the team in scoring, tallying 14.6 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 64 three pointers in 22 games, an average of 2.9 per contest. For his career, Leasure has knocked down 274 three pointers, just one triples behind CCU 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 128 of his 152 attempts at the line, a clip of 84.2 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 6-4 as starters. The only constants in the lineup this season have been Leasure and Sonko, who have started all 22 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 20th in the league in scoring at 11.2 points per game. He also ranks 11th in the Big South in assists at 3.19 per game and sixth in three-pointers made with 2.43 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.
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.
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.