Men's Hoops Wins Another Thriller, 56-55, Over High Point, Feb. 18
CONWAY, S.C. -- Freshman forward Anthony Breeze got a tip-in with 3.6 seconds left and a controversial no-call at the end of the game went Coastal Carolina's way as the Chanticleers got a nail-biting 56-55 Big South Conference victory over visiting High Point, Feb. 18. With the win on Senior Night, the Chants advanced to 13-12 and 6-6 in the league, while the Panthers fell to 14-12 and 6-6 in conference play. CCU swept the season series with the victory.
The two teams had four early lead changes in the contest and Coastal led 7-6 with 16:36 to go in the first before the visitors put together an 11-0 run over the next 5:42, keyed by five points from senior forward Arizona Reid, to go up 17-7 with just under 11 minutes remaining in the opening stanza. CCU then scored the next eight points, including a pair of dunks from junior Matt Brennan, to cut the margin to just two at 17-15 with over six minutes to go in the half. From there, the teams exchanged baskets until sophomore guard Eugene Harris' three-pointer with under a minute to go gave the visiting Panthers a 26-21 halftime advantage.
After the break, HPU led by as many as six, but the Chants tied the game at 29 with just over 17 minutes to go in regulation. From there on out, neither team was able to lead by more than four the rest of the way, as there were seven more ties and three lead changes before the final sequence of plays that led to the final two lead changes. High Point went up three on a triple by Harris with 4:30 to go. A pair of free throws by senior Jack Leasure cut the lead to one with 2:31 to play at 53-52 and two more charity tosses by junior guard Mario Sisinni gave CCU a 54-53 lead with 53 seconds to go. Senior guard Mike Jefferson got a layup with just over 25 seconds to play to put the Panthers up one at 55-54, setting up the final drama, as CCU got the ball across midcourt and called a time-out to set up its final play.
After inbounding the ball with 11.9 seconds on the clock, sophomore guard Logan Johnson drove towards the basket but his shot was challenged and came off the front rim. There, Breeze was bumped but managed to tip it towards the basket and get it to fall with 3.6 seconds left on the clock. High Point quickly inbounded the ball to Jefferson, where the first part of the controversy as the clock was delayed in starting as it did not run until he took his first two dribbles. He then went the length of the court and got to the basket. There occurred the second part of the controversy, as the whistle blew for a foul as time expired. After conferring with the table and discussing it amongst themselves, the officials ruled the game over and CCU escaped with the win. Coastal had an improved night from the field, hitting 20-of-45 shots (44.4 percent), while holding High Point to just 21-of-52 (40.4 percent). The difference was the charity stripe, as the Chants connected on 13-of-18 attempts while the Panthers were 8-of-10. CCU won the battle of the boards, 34-28, after trailing 7-1 in the early going, and got 12 second chance points to just eight for the visitors. The Chants were led by Leasure with 15 points and a team-high tying six rebounds as four CCU players grabbed six boards in the contest. Phil Wallace added 13, while Sisinni was the other CCU player in double figures with 11. Brennan came off the bench and gave CCU a lift, going 4-of-4 from the field (three of them dunks) for eight points, grab six rebounds and post two blocks in 22 minutes of play. High Point was led by Reid, who scored a game-high 17 points. Reid also became the league's all-time leading rebounder, grabbing a game-high eight rebounds to push his career total to 960 and pass the 14-year old mark of Campbell's Joe Spinks at 954. Harris added 14 points, including four three-pointers, as the only other Panther in double figures. CCU will take nine days off before heading to Asheville to take on the UNC Asheville Bulldogs, Wed., Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. HPU heads to the state of Maryland for their ESPN BracketBusters game at Towson, Sat., Feb. 23 at 4 p.m.