Feb. 2, 2011
Coastal Carolina (20-2, 11-0) vs. Liberty (16-7, 10-1)
Thursday | 2.3.11 | 7:00 p.m.
Conway, S.C. | Kimbel Arena (1,039)
CONWAY, S.C. – The Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team returns home following a four-game road trip Thursday night at 7 p.m. when the Chanticleers host Liberty from Kimbel Arena in a matchup for first place.
Coastal Carolina (20-2, 11-0) ran its winning streak to 18 games following its lopsided 86-63 win at Radford Saturday night. Desmond Holloway scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed five rebounds, while sophomore Anthony Raffa added 17 points and seven rebounds for the Chants, who own the second-longest win streak in the NCAA.
The Chanticleers also became the fastest school in Big South Conference history to reach 20 wins, accomplishing the feat in 22 games to surpass the previous record of 24 set four different times.
The Chanticleers also became the first team in Big South Conference history to win four conference road games by at least 20 points. Coastal won by 22 at VMI (Jan. 6), 21 at UNC Asheville (Jan. 20), 24 at High Point (Jan. 27) and 23 at Radford (Jan. 29).
Holloway leads the Chants and ranks first in the Big South with 19.0 points per game and has scored at least 13 points in every game he has played. The Indianapolis, Ind., native is also second in the league with a .534 field goal percentage.
Senior Chad Gray ranks second on the team and 11th in the conference with 13.2 points per game. Gray also ranks ninth in the Big South with 6.3 rebounds per game and is fourth with 1.45 blocked shots per game.
Sophomore Kierre Greenwood is fifth in the Big South with 4.09 assists per game, while Sam McLaurin is second in the league with 1.67 blocks per game and is just six rejections shy of becoming the 26th player in Big South history and third Chanticleer with 100 career blocks.
Liberty (16-7, 10-1) enters Thursday riding a five-game winning streak following its 67-51 home win over Gardner-Webb Saturday night. The Flames are 10-1 inside the Big South and suffered their only loss in conference to Coastal Carolina earlier in the season. As a team, the Flames are fifth in the Big South in scoring offense and average 68.3 points per game and rank second in the league in scoring defense by limiting opponents to just 64.0 points per game. In addition, Liberty leads the conference in rebounding and pulls down 39.6 boards per game.
Individually, sophomore guard Evan Gordon leads the Flames and ranks ninth in the Big South Conference with 14.4 points per game. Gordon has also connected for a team-high 52 three-pointers and shoots 33.8 percent from beyond the arc. Junior guard John Brown is second on the team and 16th in the league with 11.5 points per game, while ranking first in the Big South with 10.6 rebounds per game. Brown is the only player in the conference to average a double-double. Junior guards David Minaya and Jesse Sanders each pour in 10.7 points per game for the Flames. Sanders, however, has recorded 151 assists this season and leads the league with 6.57 helpers per game.
Coastal Carolina and Liberty will be meeting on the hardwood for the 47th time when the two teams tipoff Thursday evening inside Kimbel Arena. Liberty owns a 25-21 lead in the all-time series with Coastal that dates back to the 1988-89 season. The Chants, however, enter Thursday having won three straight over Liberty, which includes a 70-67 win earlier this season at the Vines Center. In that game, Kierre Greenwood scored 15 points and Desmond Holloway added 14 points to lead four Chanticleers in double figures. The Flames are also 11-10 all-time in games played in Conway and have won two of the last three games played in Kimbel Arena. In the most recent meeting, Coastal defeated Liberty 71-48 last season in Kimbel Arena.