ASHEVILLE, NC First-year head coach Buzz Peterson's first-ever coached game in his hometown was a happy one, as the Coastal Carolina men's basketball team defeated host UNC Asheville, 88-70, Feb. 13. With their sixth consecutive win, including three road victories, the Chanticleers advanced to 14-9 on the year and 8-4 in Big South Conference play, while the Bulldogs fell to 8-15 and 6-7 in league action. The Chants have now guaranteed at least a .500 overall and Big South records this season. This was also the first victory for CCU at the Justice Center in 11 years, while the six-game winning streak ties for the fourth longest in school history.
Both teams were off to a slow start, with the game knotted at seven just over five minutes into the contest. After four ties, Coastal took the lead for good on a layup by junior Adrian Gross that put the Chants up 18-16 with 11 minutes to go in the half. Senior guard Pele Paelay made it four, but a three-pointer by Chad Mohn cut it back to one at 20-19 with 10:34 to go. However, CCU pushed it out on back-to-back threes by sophomore guard Jack Leasure to make it a seven-point lead and CCU eventually led by 13 at 39-26 with 5;32 to go in the half. UNCA went on a 10-0 run over the next four minutes to cut it to three, but Coastal added to the lead, including a Paelay layup with two seconds left in the half, and headed into the halftime lockerroom with a 46-38 margin.
Coastal was (17-for-32) in the first half, while UNCA hit on 47.8 percent (11-for-23) from the floor. CCU hit 7-for-15 from the three-point arc, while UNCA was just 3-for-8. The Bulldogs have stayed in the game at the charity stripe, going 13-for-17 while the Chanticleers were just there six times, hitting five of them. Coastal held a slim battle on the boards 16-14 and had forced eight UNCA turnovers that had been converted into 10 points.
UNCA cut the margin to six at 50-44 with 15:34 to play in the game, but the Chanticleers built an insurmountable lead with a 17-2 run over the next seven minutes to lead 67-46 with 8:17 to go. The Bulldogs cut it down to 14 twice in the late going, but CCU was 6-for-6 from the free throw line along with two layups to seal the victory.
Coastal shot 55.2 percent (32-for-58) from the floor, including 11 three-pointers, while UNC Asheville hit on 51.1 percent (24-for-47) of their shots, with seven triples. CCU also hit 92.9 percent (13-for-14) from the free throw line, while UNCA was 78.9 percent (15-for-19). The Chants outrebounded the hosts 29-23 and converted 17 UNCA miscues into 20 points.
Leasure finished with a game-high 23 points, including seven three-pointers, while Paelay had 21 for the Chanticleers. Junior forward Moses Sonko added 14 points and a game-high eight rebounds, while freshman forward Joseph Harris had 12 points. Collington led UNCA with 21 points, while Mohn had 17.
Coastal returns home to Kimbel Arena for its final regular season two-game homestand of the year, starting with Birmingham-Southern, Sat., Feb. 18 at noon. The game will be televised as part of the Big South Conference television package. The homestand will then wrap up with CCU hosting VMI, Mon., Feb. 20 at 7 p.m., with Senior Night ceremonies prior to the contest with the Keydets.