Coastal Carolina University Men's BasketballCHANTICLEERS vs. HIGHLANDERS
Coastal Carolinas Kimbel Arena (1,039) ~ Conway, South Carolina
Monday, February 7, 2005 ~ 7 p.m.
SERIES HISTORY: Radford holds the lead in the all-time series against CCU, 29-11 and the Highlanders are 12-7 at Kimbel Arena against Coastal. RU has won 15 of the last 16 meetings, including this season's previous game. Last year, Radford won two of the three meetings, but CCU got the biggest one by defeating the visiting Highlanders in the opening round of the Advance Auto Parts Big South Conference Tournament.
THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Pete Strickland (Pittsburgh, '79) is in his seventh season at the helm of the Chanticleers and holds a 67-122 overall coaching record. Last season, Coastal posted a 14-15 mark, including 8-8 in Big South Conference play.
Byron Samuels (UNC Asheville, 86) is in his third season at Radford, with a 32-45 record as a head coach for the Highlanders and 49-81 in his fifth season as a head coach overall. Last season, Radford was 12-16 overall and 7-9 in league play, finishing sixth in league play.
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 advanced to 6-4 in 2004-05 following its win over VMI, Feb. 5.
NATIONAL RANKINGS: Coastal has two players among the top 50 in the nation in their respective categories as of Jan. 31. Jack Leasure ranks 28th in three-point field goal percentage at 43.4 percent and is 43rd with 2.8 threes per game, while Pele Paelay ranks 28th in steals at 2.5 per game and 49th in scoring with 18.3 points a contest.
LEASURE PICKS UP FIFTH WEEKLY BIG SOUTH HONOR:Coastal Carolina's Jack Leasure was named the Big South Conference/New Balance Men's Basketball Freshman of the Week, Feb. 7. This is the second straight week he has won it and fifth time this season. Only three other players have accomplished that feat in league history. (Joe Spinks (5)-Campbell-1990-91, Frank Harris (6)-Davidson-1991-92, Tyrone Walker (5)-Winthrop-2000-01).
The freshman guard averaged 13.7 points and 3.3 rebounds a game in helping CCU to a 2-1 record on the week. He scored 10 points in the home win over UNC Asheville, 11 at Charleston Southern and then chipped in 20 points, including two key three pointers in the closing minutes, in the home in over VMI. He also doled out six assists and had three steals on the week.
UPPING THE GAME IN LEAGUE PLAY: It is said that teams have to step up their play when they get to league play, and CCU is proof of that in the Big South stats this season. Junior Pele Paelay has increased his scoring average from 16.4 points in non-conference action to 20.1 points in Big South play, while freshman Jack Leasure (11.8 to 15.1), sophomore Adrian Gross (5.6 to 6.9) and senior Alvin Green (5.7 to 7.1) have all seen significant increases in their scoring in the first 10 league tilts.
CLOSE CALLS IN THE BIG SOUTH A REGULAR FOR CCU: Games in the Big South are always a battle, and last year's numbers prove it for Coastal Carolina. Last season in the league, 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. CCU is now 3-2 in its Big South games decided by nine or less. Earlier this season, CCU defeated Winthrop by eight and lost by seven to Liberty. CCU earned a one-point win at Birmingham-Southern, Jan. 24. Recent, the Chants dropped a gut-wrenching two-point game at Charleston Southern, Feb. 3, but rebounded with a five-point win over VMI, Feb. 5.
PAELAY GETS IT DONE: Junior Pele Paelay has made things happen offensively for Coastal this 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. Most recently, Paelay had a game-high 21 points and added five rebounds in the win at Birmingham-Southern, Jan. 24. For the season, Paelay is averaging a league-best 18.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.5 steals a game, leading the team in both points and steals. He has also led CCU in scoring 12 times and nine times in rebounding, while tallying double-digit scoring in 20 of 22 contests. He is the only player in the Big South Conference to rank in the top 10 in scoring (1st), rebounding (7th), assists (9th) and steals (1st).
AT YOUR LEASURE: Freshman Jack Leasure has been impressive on the offensive end of the floor in his first 22 collegiate games. He opened his collegiate career Nov. 19 with 16 points against Indiana State and followed it up with 17 points, including five three-pointers, at Evansville, Nov. 21. Leasure then had a career high 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting against Hawaii Nov. 26. He recently scored a career-best 24 points, including five three-pointers, in the home win over Winthrop, Jan. 5. He is now averaging 13.3 points (10th in the Big South) and hitting 42.5 percent (62-of-146) from the three-point arc, second best in the Big South Conference. He also leads the league in three-pointers per game with 2.82.
CAREER HIGHS FOR GROSS: After only scoring two points all of 2003-04, sophomore Adrian Gross showed he can be a major part of the Coastal squad this season. He put it all together for his first career double-double with then career-highs of 13 points and a team-high 11 rebounds at UNC Greensboro, Nov. 23. He surpassed both career-bests with his second double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds at home against High Point, Jan. 17. He posted his third double-double with 12 points and a career-high 16 rebounds in the home win over UNC Asheville, Jan. 30. The 16 rebounds tie for the 10th most in school history. He is now averaging 6.5 points and 6.1 rebounds in 14 games.