COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. FLAMES
Liberty's Vines Center (9,000) ~ Lynchburg, Virginia
Monday, February 12, 2007 ~ 7 p.m.
WRAPPING UP THE ROAD AT LIBERTY TONIGHT: The Coastal Carolina mens basketball squad will play its final 2006-07 regular season road contest tonight at Liberty, Feb. 12. The trip opened with a tough 71-63 loss at High Point, Sat., Feb. 10.
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 199-131 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.
Randy Dunton (Baptist Bible College, 84) is in his sixth season at Liberty with a 75-98 record and in his eighth year as a head coach overall with a 109-124 mark. Last season, Liberty was 7-23 overall and 3-13 in the Big South, finishing eighth. The Flames return five of six starters and six letterwinners from last year's squad.
SERIES HISTORY: This is the 39th meeting all-time between Coastal and Liberty, with the Flames leading 21-17. Coastal is just 8-12 at the Vines Center, but last year had success against the Flames. In 2005-06, CCU posted a 72-60 victory at home, while earning a 78-61 victory in Lynchburg. Coastal's season series sweep in 2005-06 marked the first time that has occurred since the 2000-01 campaign. This year, the Chants got the win in the first meeting in Conway, defeating LU 70-65 to extend the win streak to three in the series. (Recaps and box scores of this and last year's meetings are available on pages 9 and 10.)
PETERSON AGAINST THE FLAMES: This will be the fourth time that CCU head coach Buzz Peterson has faced the Liberty Flames in his head coaching career, as CCU took both of last year's meetings and this year's previous contest.
COMING TO TOURNAMENT TIME: It is a very simple equation for the Chanticleers to earn a home game in the first round of the 2007 Advance Auto Parts Big South Tournament. Coastal must win at least two of the next three games to secure that game at Kimbel Arena. If CCU does win two of the next three, they will also lock up at least the No. 3 seed in the tournament.
LAST TIME OUT - A ROAD LOSS AT HIGH POINT: Coastal Carolina's men's basketball squad rallied late but couldn't get over the top, eventually losing a Big South Conference contest at High Point, 71-63, Feb. 10. With the loss, the Chanticleers fell to 13-12 and 6-5 in the conference, while the Panthers locked up a home game for the opening round of the Big South Tournament and are now 18-8 and 8-2 in league action.
CCU got off to a good start, taking a 10-4 lead in the opening minutes of the game. However, the Panthers came back and eventually took the lead for good at 17-15 on a pair of Landon Quick free throws. This was part of a 20-7 run by the Panthers that extended their lead to 24-17 with 5:06 remaining in the half. HPU eventually entered the halftime lockerroom with a 33-24 advantage, as Coastal hit just 31.3 percent (10-of-32) of its shots from the field in the first half.
The Panthers extended their lead to as many as 21 with 9:31 to go in the game at 55-34. From that point on, the Chants started battling back and cutting into the lead, with several players chipping in on the scoring. CCU eventually got it down to five at 63-58 with 2:29 to play on freshman guard Joshua Mack's three-pointer, part of nine straight points from Mack. However, High Point hit eight free throws in the closing minutes to hold Coastal off.
For the game, CCU knocked down just 37.7 percent (23-for-61) of its shots from the floor, including 7-for-22 from the three-point arc. High Point was 44.6 percent (25-for-56) in the field and hit 15-of-27 free throws on the night. The Panthers dominated the glass, 47-35, including 18 offensive rebounds that were turned into 18 points.
Mack led the Chants with 16 points, including four three-pointers, while junior guard Jack Leasure and Moses Sonko added in 15 and 14 points, respectively. High Point was paced by Arizona Reid with a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds, while Eugene Harris had 11 points and Landon Quick chipped in 10.
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 12 losses, the Chanticleers have not won the board battle, losing seven and tying one with an average margin against of 5.8 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 288 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 78 three pointers in 25 games, an average of 3.1 per contest. For his career, Leasure has knocked down 288 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 (.379), third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.82), third in three pointers made (3.12/g) and ninth in assists (3.56/g).
"JACKING" IT UP IN THE LAST SIX: And we aren't talking about poor shot selections by junior guard Jack Leasure in his last six games. After going through a minor slump, Leasure has come out shooting the ball effectively for Coastal recently, scoring 19.7 points per game, hitting 50.4 percent (39-for-77) of his shots from the field, including 44.4 percent (20-for-44) beyond the three-point arc. He has also shot 20-for-25 (80.0 percent) at the charity stripe and added 18 rebounds, 23 assists and nine steals in those six 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 1,086 career points (currently 13th on the Coastal career scoring chart) and 554 career rebounds (seventh at CCU).
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 seventh on Coastal's all-time scoring chart and 31st on the Big South list with 1,340 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 15.2 points per game, ranking second on the squad and ninth 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.
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 8.8 points per game. He has improved those averages by going higher in league play with 10.1 points and 8.3 rebounds in 11 conference games. He has at least shared for team-high honors in rebounding in 15 of the 25 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 45-for-52 (86.5 percent) thus far on the season. Leasure has been good at the three-point arc as well, as he has hit 78 three-pointers in the first 25 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 55 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 27 of those contests, with CCU having an 16-1 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. 11, Sonko leads the team and Big South Conference in field goal percentage, now hitting 55.8 percent (159-for-285) of his shots from the floor. On the year, he is also second on the team in scoring, tallying 15.2 points per contest, good for ninth 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 12 of the last 13 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 8-5 as starters. The only constants in the lineup this season have been Leasure and Sonko, who have started all 25 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 11.7 points per game. He also ranks 10th in the Big South in assists at 3.25 per game and sixth in three-pointers made with 2.42 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 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.
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.
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.
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.