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Men's Basketball To Start Final Regular Season Road Trip at High Point

       

Men's Basketball To Start Final Regular Season Road Trip at High Point

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COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL

CHANTICLEERS vs. PANTHERS

High Point's Millis Center (2,565) ~ High Point, North Carolina
Saturday, February 10, 2006 ~ 7 p.m.
www.GoCCUSports.com

THE FINAL REGULAR SEASON ROAD TRIP STARTS TONIGHT: The Coastal Carolina men’s basketball squad will take to the road one last time for the 2006-07 regular season for a pair of Big South Conference contests, starting tonight at High Point. The swing then wraps up at Liberty, Mon., Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. CCU enters this trip with back-to-back league victories over VMI and Radford.

THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Buzz Peterson (North Carolina, '86) is in his second season at the helm of the Chanticleers with a 33-21 record and holds a 198-128 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.

Bart Lundy (Winthrop, ’93) is in his fourth season at High Point with a 65-50 record and in his ninth year as a head coach overall with a 180-91 mark. Last season, High Point was 16-13 overall and 8-8 in the Big South, finishing fifth. The Panthers return three starters and nine letterwinners from last year's squad.

SERIES HISTORY: This is the 20th meeting in the brief series between the two schools, with Coastal holding a 10-9 advantage, but has only won three of the eight games at High Point's Millis Center. The Panthers have taken four of the last five meetings, including this year's first contest at Kimbel Arena, 59-56, Jan. 22. Coastal's win in that span was last year's 78-60 victory in Conway. Last season's game at High Point was taken by the host Panthers, 82-62, Jan. 9 as the final game of a three-game road trip to start Coastal's Big South play. (Recaps and box scores of this and last year's meetings are available on pages 9 and 10.)

PETERSON AGAINST THE PANTHERS: This is the fourth time that head coach Buzz Peterson has faced High Point in his coaching career. After last season's split of the season series, with each team winning at home and this season's first game with HPU, Peterson is just 1-2 against the Panthers.

LAST TIME OUT - A SOLID HOME VICTORY OVER RADFORD: Senior forward Moses Sonko and junior guard Jack Leasure each tallied a game-high 25 points to lead the Coastal Carolina men's basketball squad to an 85-67 Big South Conference victory over visiting Radford, Feb. 5. CCU posted its second straight win and 11th in 12 games this year at Kimbel Arena, while the Highlanders dropped their sixth consecutive game.

Coastal grabbed the lead early and never trailed in the contest with RU. There was one tie at two all and then Coastal went on a 10-0 run, including four points from Leasure and a three pointer each from junior guard Everage Richardson and freshman guard Joshua Mack to make it 12-2 just under five minutes into the game. Radford battled back, chipping the lead down to one at 19-18 with 6:43 to go in the first on a layup by Amir Johnson. However, Coastal had another answer, going on an 8-0 surge to make it 27-18 just three minutes later. After a dunk by RU's Chris Oliver and a free throw from Reggie McIntyre made it 27-21 with 2:20 to go, the Chants score the final seven points of the half, including a three by Leasure and a pair of layups by Richardson to take a 34-21 halftime lead.

CCU stretched the advantage to 18 at 41-23 early in the second half, with all seven points scored by Sonko, including a conventional three-point play. The Highlanders continued to scrap and clawed back to within seven at 60-53 with 8:53 to go in the game and it was just 69-59 with 4:49 to play. But unlike two of the last three meetings, Coastal put this one away in the closing minutes, outscoring RU 16-8 over the final span to secure the home victory and avenge the team's only home loss last season.

Coastal hit on 47.7 percent (31-for-65) of its shots from the field, including going 8-for-17 (47.1 percent) from the three-point arc. Radford was good on 26-of-60 (43.3 percent) of its shots from the floor, but only hit 2-for-8 from the three-point line. The boards were tied at 39, but the Chants took better advantage of their offensive rebounds, outscoring the Highlanders on second-chance points, 25-12.

Sonko made his night a double-double, his eighth of the year, by adding 12 rebounds to his 25 points, while Leasure hit on 8-of-13 from the floor, including five treys, for his 25 points and also contributed four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Mack hit for 15 points, while Richardson chipped in 11 points and five boards on the night. Oliver led the Highlanders with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Kenny Thomas and Johnson contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively. Reggie McIntyre also had nine points and 11 boards for RU.

SEVERAL KEYS IN COASTAL WINS: There are several important factors for Coastal to be victorious. The Chants are 12-1 when leading at the intermission and 12-1 when ahead with five minutes to play in the game. CCU is 11-3 when holding opponents to less than 70 points in a game and 10-5 when shooting better than 45 percent from the floor. Additionally, Coastal is 11-3 when shooting more free throws than their opponents and 9-3 when outrebounding their foes.

RANKING NATIONALLY: Coastal ranks in the top 85 in several national categories as a team, as of Jan. 28. CCU is 13th in steals at 9.7 per game and 19th nationally in assists at 17.2 per game. Coastal also ranks 74th in scoring offense (74.5 ppg).

Individually, junior guard Jack Leasure ranks 23rd in three-pointers per game (3.1) and 89th in three-point field goal percentage (37.2 percent). Senior forward Moses Sonko is 42nd in field goal percentage at 56.9 percent, while sophomore forward Joseph Harris is 80th with 7.9 rebounds a contest.

WINNING THE BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: During Coastal's 13 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 457-353, an average of 8.0 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.

LEASURE THE NEW KING OF DOWNTOWN: The three-point arc has been the domain of junior guard Jack Leasure since his arrival at Coastal for the 2004-05 season and that legend grew to new heights this season. In the win over VMI, Feb. 3, Leasure hit seven threes (the second highest total in his career and fifth best in school history) and became the Coastal career three-pointer leader. Leasure surpassed KeKe Hicks (1993-95) with 275 triples and now has 286 three-pointers in his three years. He ranks sixth in Big South history in threes and trails Raymond "Peanut" Arrington of Radford in fifth at 289.

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 76 three pointers in 24 games, an average of 3.17 per contest. For his career, Leasure has knocked down 286 three pointers in his career and became Coastal's all-time leader in the category. Leasure took the record when he hit seven against VMI Feb. 3 and passed KeKe Hicks (1993-96) with 275.

Leasure had his best game of the season in the win over VMI, Feb. 3, as the guard scored a season-high 28 points, including going 7-for-13 from the three-point arc, and adding six rebounds and six assists. He leads the team and ranks eighth in the league in scoring at 15.4 points per game. He is also third in three-point field goal percentage (.380), third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.76), third in three pointers made (3.17/g) and eighth in assists (3.58/g).

"JACKING" IT UP IN THE LAST FIVE: And we aren't talking about poor shot selections by junior guard Jack Leasure in his last five games. After going through a minor slump, Leasure has come out shooting the ball effectively for Coastal recently, scoring 20.6 points per game, hitting 54.0 percent (34-for-63) of his shots from the field, including 47.4 percent (18-for-38) beyond the three-point arc. He has also shot 17-for-20 (85.0 percent) at the charity stripe and added 16 rebounds, 20 assists and seven steals in those five games.

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 1,072 career points (currently 14th on the Coastal career scoring chart) and 547 career rebounds.

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 CCU’s 1000-Point Club, accomplishing the feat in just two years and three games. He currently ranks seventh on Coastal's all-time scoring chart and 31st on the Big South list with 1,325 points, recently surpassing Howard White (1975-76) at 1,321. Next up on CCU's career list in sixth is William Calvin (1985-88) with 1,465 career points.

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 15.3 points per game, ranking second on the squad and 10th in the conference, while currently in sixth in the league with 7.4 rebounds per contest. Sonko has also tallied a career-best eight double-doubles this season, including his most recent of 25 points and 12 rebounds in the home win over Radford, Feb. 5, his second consecutive double-double.

RICHARDSON GETTING IN THE FLOW: Junior transfer Everage Richardson has started to show his growth on the Coastal basketball squad in the last three Big South games. After averaging 6.8 points per game in the first 19 contests this year, Richardson averaged 12.5 points in the last four league contests. He tallied back-to-back career-high point games against two of those Big South opponents. At Winthrop Jan. 27, 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, Jan. 29, 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 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 9.0 points per game. He has improved those averages by going higher in league play with 10.9 points and 8.2 rebounds in 10 conference games. He has at least shared for team-high honors in rebounding in 14 of the 24 Coastal games this year.

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 42-for-47 (89.4 percent) thus far on the season. Leasure has been good at the three-point arc as well, as he has hit 76 three-pointers in the first 24 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 54 games, Leasure has led Coastal in scoring on 24 occasions, posting a 19-5 mark, while when Sonko is the leading board grabber, CCU is 12-5. 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 Feb. 4, Sonko leads the team and Big South Conference in field goal percentage, now hitting 56.6 percent (154-for-272) of his shots from the floor. On the year, he is also second on the team in scoring, tallying 15.3 points per contest, good for 10th in the league.

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 132 of his 156 attempts at the line, a clip of 84.6 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 11 of the last 12 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 8-4 as starters. The only constants in the lineup this season have been Leasure and Sonko, who have started all 24 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 19th in the league in scoring at 11.5 points per game. He also ranks 10th in the Big South in assists at 3.30 per game and sixth in three-pointers made with 2.35 a contest.

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.

OTHERS RISE TO NEW LEVELS VERSUS VMI: In the most recent win over VMI, Feb. 3, Coastal had a pair of players step up and set new personal records. Sophomore guard Steven Sexton scored a career-best 16 points, including a career-high four three-pointers, while freshman forward Randon Cavette had career highs of 11 points and six rebounds in just eight minutes of action.

SONKO GRABS THE REBOUNDING RECORD: Senior forward Moses Sonko made more history in the home win over VMI, Feb. 3. Sonko grabbed a new school-record 22 rebounds in the victory, 10 of them on the offensive glass, snapping a 19-year-old record. The previous mark was 21 rebounds by William Calvin against Limestone during the 1987-88 season.

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.

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 at 2 p.m. as part of O'Reilly's ESPNU BracketBusters. 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).

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.

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 50-16 (75.8 percent) overall at the Conway campus venue in the last four-plus years, including a staggering 25-2 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 the loss to High Point, Jan. 22.

BIG SOUTH ACTION LAST YEAR AT KIMBEL: In nine conference games against league foes at CCU’s Kimbel Arena, the Chanticleers posted eight victories, including wins over two-time defending champion Winthrop and today’s 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.

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 Coastal’s 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 Men’s 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 Coastal’s win over McNeese State. He followed that with 20 points, hitting 6-of-11 treys, as well as three assists and two steals in Saturday’s 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.

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 Men’s 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.

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.