Men's Basketball Escapes With 65-61 Win at Radford
RADFORD, VA. -- Coastal Carolina's men's basketball squad found a way in the closing minutes to make shots and earned a 65-61 Big South Conference victory at Radford, Feb. 11. Sweeping the season series for the first time since 1990-91, the Chanticleers advanced to 12-11 and 5-5 in league play, while the Highlanders dropped to 8-16 and 3-6 in the conference.
Coastal took the initial lead on a jumper by senior guard Jack Leasure, but the Highlanders grabbed it back on a three by Martell McDuffy and held on to it for the next 10 minutes, building a 20-13 lead with 8:25 remaining in the first half. From there, the Chanticleers outscored the host Highlanders 20-5 over the remainder of the half, including nine of 12 junior guard Steven Sexton's points off the bench during that time, to take a 33-25 lead into the halftime lockerroom. CCU eventually reclaimed the lead after the game was tied at 24 with 3:57 to play in the period, as Leasure knocked down all three free throws after being fouled behind the arc to put them back ahead. Coastal held the host RU squad to just 30.0 percent (9-of-30) from the floor in the first half, while hitting 36.7 percent (11-of-30) from the field and draining 8-of-9 free throw attempts.
The Chants pushed the lead to 13 early in the second half on a three by junior Mario Sisinni and a pair of free throws by Sexton to go up 38-25 with 18:58 to play. However, CCU would score just three more points over the next eight-plus minutes, with the hosts going on a 16-3 run to tie the game at 41 with 10:52 remaining. At that point, RU's Amir Johnson scored the next 11 points for the Highlanders, giving them a 52-46 lead with 4:45 to play on back-to-back three pointers. A layup by senior Phil Wallace and a pair of free throws by Logan Johnson sliced the lead to just two, but Eric Hall's layup pushed it back to a four-point advantage with just under four minutes to play. The teams exchanged baskets to keep the margin at four until Leasure found his stroke and hit three-pointers on consecutive possessions to give the Chants the lead for good at 58-56 with 2:05 left on the clock. Down the stretch, CCU hit seven of its eight attempts at the free throw line while RU didn't hit a shot from the floor in the final two minutes until Amir Johnson's three in the final seconds with the game already decided.
CCU hit on just 33.3 percent (19-of-57) from the field overall and just 23.1 percent (6-of-26) from behind the three-point arc. Radford was not much better, downing 34.9 percent (22-of-63) of its shots from the floor and 33.3 percent (8-of-24) on threes. The two differences were turnover conversions, as the Chants outscored RU 18-9 off turnovers, and the charity stripe, where Coastal was an impressive 21-of-24 (87.5 percent) from the line as compared to just 9-of-12 for the Highlanders.
Though struggling from the floor, Leasure still led Coastal with 22 points, including going 7-of-7 at the line, and adding seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Logan Johnson finished with 16 points and 8 boards, while Sexton added a season-high 15 points. Amir Johnson led all scorers with 25 points, going 7-of-9 from the three-point arc, while Joey Lynch-Flohr was the only other Highlander in double figures with 10. CCU will return home to the friendly confines of Kimbel Arena for the final regular-season homestand of the season, starting with the Liberty Flames, Sat., Feb. 16 at 2 p.m.