COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. PANTHERS
Coastal Carolina's Kimbel Arena (1,039) ~ Conway, South Carolina
Monday, February 6, 2006 ~ 7 p.m.
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 177-117 overall coaching record in nine-plus seasons. Last season, Coastal posted a 10-19 mark, including 7-9 in Big South Conference play.
Bart Lundy (Winthrop, 93) is in his third season at High Point with a 44-37 record and in his eighth year as a head coach overall with a 159-76 mark. Last season, High Point was 13-18 overall and 7-9 in the Big South, tying for fourth. The Panthers return two starters and six letterwinners from last year's squad.
SERIES HISTORY: This is the 18th meeting in the brief series between the two schools, with Coastal holding a 9-8 advantage. Coastal has posted a 5-3 mark in Kimbel Arena. However, High Point has won the last three meetings, including this season's game at the Millis Center, 82-62. (Recaps and box scores of last year's meetings are available on page 8 and 9.)
PETERSON AGAINST THE PANTHERS: This is the second time that head coach Buzz Peterson has faced High Point in his coaching career after this season's first meeting between the two teams.
PAELAY REACHING THE ELITE MILESTONE: Senior guard Pele Paelay has proven his ability to score in his career and accomplished a milestone in the home win over Winthrop, Feb. 4. Early in the first half, Paelay knocked down his second three-pointer of the game and became the 13th member of Coastal's 1,000-Point Club. He currently ranks 12th with 1,015 points.
THE FIRST YEAR IS A GOOD START: For head coach Buzz Peterson, he has already accomplished much in Coastal annals. Among first year CCU coaches, he has already led this team to more victories (11) and Big South wins (5) than any previous first year Coastal coach.
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 five 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. Coastal won at Winthrop, 64-57, Jan. 24, for its first road win of the year.
SOME KEY ITEMS FOR COASTALS VICTORIES: Several trends developed in regards to Coastal winning in the 2005-06 season. Coastal is 9-4 when leading at the break, 19-1 when ahead with five minutes to play and 8-2 when scoring at least 70 points. Defense is always a key, as Coastal is 8-1 when holding opponents to less than 70 points, as well as 9-3 when forcing at least 15 turnovers. The Chants are also 9-2 when giving up less than 15 turnovers and 8-2 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 10-1 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. The Chants' 10 home victories are the most since the 1992-93 team went 11-2 in Kimbel Arena.
FROM DOWNTOWN...BANG!: Sophomore Jack Leasure continues to believe -- and prove -- that outside the three-point arc is his domain. Through 20 games this season, the guard has hit 80 three-pointers, an average of 4.0 per game, and is just three 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 8.2 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 20 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 20 games. Guard Mario Sisinni joined the starting lineup in 12 of the last 16 contests.
However, CCU has used the same starting lineup in the last three games, with Paelay, Leasure, Sonko, guard Colin Stevens and forward Joseph Harris out for the opening tip for the Chanticleers.
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 80 triples on 40.2 percent shooting this year and is leading the Chanticleers in scoring at 17.5 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 17.5 points a game (sixth in the Big South) and adding 3.4 rebounds. He has hit a league-best 80 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 165 in just 49 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 4.35 assists per game and has added 34 steals (fifth in the Big South) so far this year.
DOUBLING THE DOUBLE-DOUBLE FOR SONKO: Junior forward Moses Sonko saw double in recent back-to-back 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 11 victories, the Chanticleers have made the difference on the defensive end of the floor. In the 11 wins, Coastal has given up just 60.4 points per game and just 41.8 percent (228-for-545) shooting from the floor. Additionally, the Chants have forced 5.4 more turnovers a game in the wins, including 10.1 steals per game. Coastal has also outrebounded its opponents by 3.5 caroms a game in the 11 victories.
This doesn't mean Coastal hasn't been solid offensively as well in the wins. The Chants have hit on 47.9 percent (303-for-633) of their shots from the floor, including 38.6 percent (98-for-254) from the three-point arc.
Individually, guard Jack Leasure has been the leader for the Chants in the 11 wins, averaging 20.5 points per game in the victories. Additionally, Leasure has hit 47.8 percent (75-for-157) of his shots from the floor, including 52 three pointers and 42.6 percent (52-for-122) shooting from beyond the arc. He also has 3.1 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game in the 11 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 14.1 points (seventh in the Big South) and 5.0 rebounds (tied for 17th in the league) in 20 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 1,015 points in his career, just 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 seven games, including three starts, Stevens has averaged 8.6 points per game in 23.7 minutes, including a stellar 92.0 percent (23-for-25) from the charity stripe. He has dished out 26 assists to just eight turnovers. In these seven 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. Last time out, Stevens handed out a career-high 10 assists in the home win over Winthrop, Feb. 4. As part of that, during the last seven games, Coastal has posted a 5-2 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 20 contests and is averaging 10.9 points (18th in the Big South), a team-best 5.2 rebounds (15th in the league) and 25.8 minutes per game. He has scored in double figures in 11 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.
COASTAL SWEEPS WEEKLY BIG SOUTH AWARDS: Coastal Carolina University junior forward Moses Sonko has been selected as the Big South Conference Choice Hotels Mens 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 CCUs 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 Saturdays win over Liberty. Sonkos 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.
GETTING THE SWEEP OF WINTHROP: The Coastal Carolina men's basketball team posted its fifth win in the last six games, getting the sweep of the season series by defeating defending Big South champion Winthrop, 64-50. With its 10th victory in 11 home contests, the Chanticleers have their best 20-game record since the 1993-94 team was 12-8, while the 10 home victories are the most since the 1992-93 team went 11-2 in Kimbel Arena.
Winthrop's Craig Bradshaw opened the game with a layup to put Winthrop up 2-0, but that was the only lead the Eagles would enjoy in the first half. Coastal rattled off five straight points on a layup by forward Joseph Harris and a three-pointer by guard Pele Paelay to go up 5-2 with 16:40 to play. After the lead was cut to one on another Bradshaw layup, CCU went on an 8-0 run, including triples by guard Jack Leasure and Paelay and a jumper by forward Moses Sonko, to lead 13-4 less than six minutes in. WU would cut the lead to three on two separate occasions, but CCU pushed the lead out the remainder of the half. Coastal eventually finished the half on a 25-foot three-pointer by Paelay as time expired to go into intermission with its biggest lead of the half at 34-23.
CCU shot 48.1 percent (13-for-27) in the opening half, while Winthrop was held to 40.0 percent (10-for-25). The Chants hit six three-pointers to just one for Winthrop while also holding an 18-12 advantage on the glass.
Paelay led CCU with 11 at the intermission while Leasure and guard Mario Sisinni each added six. Forward James Shuler had eight at the break while forward Phillip Williams chipped in six off the bench.
The Eagles came out like a team on a mission in the second half, cutting quickly into the Coastal lead with seven unanswered points in just over two minutes to cut the CCU lead to 34-30. Coastal pushed it back to nine at 39-30 on five straight points by Leasure, but another surge by Winthrop, this time 13-2 over the next six minutes, gave the Eagles their first lead of the second half at 43-41 with 11:10 to go. Sonko hit a pair of free throws for Coastal to tie the game and then the Chants took the lead for good on a three-pointer by Paelay with 10:25 to play to make it 46-43. The game was close for the next five minutes with CCU leading by just 53-50 after guard Torrell Martin canned a three-pointer with 6:30 to play. But that was the last points WU would have in the game, as Coastal shut the Eagles and scored the last 11 points of the contest for the victory. Sonko's layup with 2:26 to go gave CCU a 60-50 lead that closed the door on any potential comeback.
The Chants finished the game hitting 49.0 percent (24-for-49) from the field, including going 43.5 percent (10-for-23) from the three-point arc. Winthrop finished at 44.4 percent (20-for-45) from the floor, but just 21.1 percent (4-for-19) from beyond the three-point line. Coastal won the battle of the boards, 31-21, and turned 11 offensive rebounds into a 16-6 advantage in second chance points.
Paelay led all scorers with 19 points to become the 13th Chanticleer in history to reach the 1,000 career point mark and added seven rebounds. Sonko and Leasure each chipped in 14. Guard Colin Stevens had a team season-high 10 assists, while Harris added six points and a game-high eight rebounds. Winthrop was paced by Martin with 13 points, while Shuler, who also reached the career 1,000-point plateau in the game, and Bradshaw were the only other players in double figures with 10 each.
OPENING THE HOMESTAND WITH A WIN OVER LIBERTY: The Coastal Carolina men's basketball team posted its fourth win in the last five games, defeating visiting Liberty 72-60, Jan. 28. CCU snapped LU's four-game winning streak in the series.
The first half was back and forth, as the two teams had four ties and four lead changes in the first 12 minutes. With the score 19-19, forward Moses Sonko and guard Jack Leasure each canned a pair of free throws to put Coastal up 23-19 with 7:12 to go in the first half. Liberty cut it to two on guard Evan Risher's two free throws with just over seven minutes to go. The Chants then went on a 7-1 run in less than two minutes to take an eight-point lead with 5:20 to go. LU came back with a 7-2 surge to make it a three-point game with 3:13 to go until intermission, but Coastal closed the half on a 7-1 run to go into the halftime lockerroom with a 39-30 lead.
Coastal hit 50.0 percent (12-for-24) from the floor while holding Liberty to just 36.4 percent (8-for-22) from the field in the opening half. CCU also controlled the boards 18-10 and outscored LU in the paint 16-4 in the opening period.
CCU was led by Sonko and Leasure with 10 points each, while guard Pele Paelay chipped in nine. Liberty was paced by Risher with 11 points, while guard Larry Blair had 10 at intermission.
LU's Blair scored the first four points of the second half to trip the margin to just five at 39-34, but Coastal again had an answer with six unanswered points, capped by a layup by forward Joseph Harris, to push the lead to 11 with 16:11 to play. CCU maintained at least an eight-point lead over the next nine minutes, pushing it to 13 at 59-46 with 8:56 to go. Liberty made one last push from there, cutting the lead to just five at 60-55 with 5:02 to go, but that was as close as the Flames would get the remainder of the way. After LU cut the lead to just eight with 1:41 to go on Risher's layup, the final dagger was put in by Leasure, as he hit a three-pointer with just over a minute to go to seal the victory.
For the game, the Chants were just 37.5 percent (21-for-56) from the field, but were stellar at the free throw stripe, knocking down 80.6 percent (25-for-31) of their opportunities. Liberty finished at 40.0 percent (18-for-45) on field goals and 74.1 percent (20-for-27) from the free throw line. The difference in the game was the glass, as Coastal outrebounded Liberty 40-27. The Chants limited the Flames to just five offensive rebounds, good for eight points, while grabbing 16 offensive rebounds of their own and turning them into 20 points.
Coastal was led by Paelay with 17 points, while Sonko posted his second consecutive double-double with 16 points and a career-high tying 11 rebounds. Leasure had 13 points, while Harris just missed a double-double with career-bests of 12 points and nine rebounds. Liberty was led by Blair with 22, while Risher was the only other Flame in double figures with 17.
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 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.