COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. BULLDOGS
Coastal Carolina's Kimbel Arena (1,039) ~ Conway, South Carolina
Thursday, February 22, 2007 ~ 7 p.m.
WRAPPING UP THE REGULAR SEASON AT HOME: The Coastal Carolina mens basketball squad continues a three-game homestand to conclude the regular season, returning to Big South Conference action by hosting UNC Asheville tonight. The Chanticleers started this with an 83-66 victory over Canisius as part of the O'Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters, Feb. 17. CCU will conclude the 2006-07 regular season, taking on two-time defending champion Winthrop in Kimbel Arena, Sat., Feb. 24 at 2 p.m. on SportSouth.
Coastal has already assured itself one more home game. CCU will be no worse than the fourth seed and will play at Kimbel in the first round of the Advance Auto Parts Big South Conference Championship, Tue., Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.
THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Buzz Peterson (North Carolina, '86) is in his second season at the helm of the Chanticleers with a 35-22 record and holds a 201-131 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.
Eddie Biedenbach (North Carolina State, '68) is in his 11th season as head coach at UNC Asheville with a 140-175 record at UNCA and 169-226 in his 14th year as a head coach overall. Last season, the Bulldogs were 9-19 overall and 6-10 in Big South Conference play, finishing seventh and losing in the Big South Quarterfinals to Coastal, 78-62. UNCA lost all five starters from last year's squad but returns eight letterwinners to this years team.
SERIES WITH UNC ASHEVILLE: The second longest series in CCUs history, the Chanticleers and Bulldogs meet for the 49th time in history tonight. Coastal leads the overall series 26-22 and leads in Kimbel Arena 17-7. The Chants have won the last four meetings, including all three last year, the first sweep of the season series since 1993-94, and this season's first game in Asheville, 68-60, Jan. 8. CCU also has taken the last six in Kimbel Arena dating back the 2000-01 season.
CLOSING IN ON TOURNAMENT TIME: With the win at Liberty Feb. 12 and UNC Asheville's loss to High Point Feb. 14, the Chanticleers have secured a home game for the opening round of 2007 Advance Auto Parts Big South Championship, Tue., Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. If CCU wins at least one of its final two Big South games, the team will also lock up the No. 3 seed in the tournament.
LAST TIME OUT - A BRACKETBUSTER WIN OVER CANISIUS: Coastal Carolina's men's basketball squad overcame a six-point deficit in the second half with a 19-1 run and finished it off for an 83-66 victory over visiting Canisius as part of the O'Reilly ESPNU BracketBusters, Feb. 17. With the win, the Chanticleers lock up their second straight .500 or better season.
Coastal raced out to a 14-2 lead in the first four minutes on the strength of four Chanticleer triples, three of them from freshman guard Joshua Mack. Canisius used 14 first half offensive rebounds turned into 15 points to battle back and take the lead at 24-22 on Chuck Harris' layup. David Johnson's fast break layup extended the Golden Griffins' advantage to 30-23 with 5:54 remaining in the first. The Chants clawed back and trailed by one at the intermission 34-33.
The Griffs again pushed the lead out, this time to six at 49-43 with 15:19 to go in the game, and the lead was 50-45 Canisius with 13:21 to play. From there on, Coastal dominated the game, going on a 19-1 run over the next 6:55 to take a strong 64-51 lead with just 6:53 to play. Canisius did trim it to seven on a 8-2 run of its own, but another surge by CCU, this time a 13-3 push over just 3:30 put the game out of reach at 79-62 with 1:39 remaining. Coastal held the visitors to just 16 points over the last 13:20 of the contest.
Coastal hit 48.1 percent (26-for-54) from the field for the contest, including 58.3 percent (14-for-24) in the second half, while Canisius shot just 41.5 percent (27-for-65) from the floor. CCU took advantage of the three-point arc, going 11-for-26 (42.3 percent) while the Golden Griffins were held to just 12.5 percent (2-for-16) in the game. Canisius won the battle of the boards, 41-31, including 21 offensive rebounds, but Coastal made charity count, hitting 20-of-25 from the free throw line. The Chants also had just nine turnovers in the contest, one shy of a season low.
Junior guard Jack Leasure led all scorers with 23 points, hitting 8-for-16 from the field and 5-for-10 from the arc, with 18 of his points coming in the second half. Mack finished with 19, including four triples, while senior forward Moses Sonko chipped in 12 points and seven boards. Canisus was led by forward Darnell Wilson's double-double fo 20 points and 11 rebounds. Guard Frank Turner posted 12, while Harris and guard Corey Herring added 11 and 10, respectively.
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 25-3 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 51-16 (76.1 percent) overall at the Conway campus venue in the last four-plus years, including a staggering 26-2 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.
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.
BIG SOUTH ACTION AT KIMBEL: In nine conference games against league foes at CCUs Kimbel Arena last year, the Chanticleers posted eight victories, including wins over two-time defending champion Winthrop and todays opponent, UNC Asheville. 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. Under current head coach Buzz Peterson, CCU is 13-2 against league foes at "The Coop".
SEVERAL KEYS IN COASTAL WINS: There are several important factors for Coastal to be victorious. The Chants are 13-1 when leading at the intermission and 14-1 when ahead with five minutes to play in the game. CCU is 13-3 when holding opponents to less than 70 points in a game and 12-5 when shooting better than 45 percent from the floor. Additionally, the Chants are 12-3 when shooting more free throws than their opponents and 9-3 when outrebounding their foes.
RANKING NATIONALLY: Coastal ranks in the top 75 in several national categories as a team, as of Feb. 18. CCU is 19th in steals at 9.4 per game and 20th nationally in assists at 16.9 per game. Coastal also ranks 62nd in scoring offense (74.9 ppg).
Individually, junior guard Jack Leasure ranks 20th in three-pointers per game (3.2) and 64th in three-point field goal percentage (39.0 percent). Senior forward Moses Sonko is 37th in field goal percentage at 55.7 percent, while sophomore forward Joseph Harris is 79th with 7.8 rebounds a contest. Freshman guard Joshua Mack ranks 82nd in three-point field goal percentage at 37.8 percent.
WINNING THE BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: During Coastal's 15 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 517-428, an average of 5.9 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 297 three-pointers in his three years, moving up to third and recently passing Mark Mocnik of Campbell (1988-93) with 295 in fourth and UNC Asheville's Josh Kohn (1992-96) with 296. He now only trails Doug Day (1989-93) of Radford with 401 and Scott Hartzell (1992-96) of UNC Greensboro with 309.
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 87 three pointers in 27 games, an average of 3.2 per contest. For his career, Leasure has knocked down 297 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 (.385), 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 EIGHT: And we aren't talking about poor shot selections by junior guard Jack Leasure in his last eight games. After going through a minor slump, Leasure has come out shooting the ball effectively for Coastal recently, scoring 20.0 points per game, hitting 50.5 percent (53-for-105) of his shots from the field, including 47.5 percent (29-for-61) beyond the three-point arc. He has also shot 25-for-31 (80.6 percent) at the charity stripe and added 22 rebounds, 30 assists and 11 steals in those eight 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 1,112 career points (currently 13th on the Coastal career scoring chart) and 565 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 1,382 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 15.0 points per game, ranking second on the squad and ninth in the conference, while currently in sixth in the league with 7.1 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 8.4 points per game. He has improved those averages by going higher in league play with 9.8 points and 8.2 rebounds in 12 conference games. He has at least shared for team-high honors in rebounding in 18 of the 27 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 50-for-58 (86.2 percent) thus far on the season. Leasure has been good at the three-point arc as well, as he has hit 87 three-pointers in the 27 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 57 games, Leasure has led Coastal in scoring on 26 occasions, posting a 21-5 mark, while when Sonko is the leading board grabber, CCU is 13-5. Harris has led the Chants on the glass in 29 of those contests, with CCU having an 18-11 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. 18, Sonko leads the team and Big South Conference in field goal percentage, now hitting 55.7 percent (167-for-300) of his shots from the floor. On the year, he is also second on the team in scoring, tallying 15.0 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 143 of his 171 attempts at the line, a clip of 83.6 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 14 of the last 15 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 10-5 as starters. The only constants in the lineup this season have been Leasure and Sonko, who have started all 27 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 12.0 points per game. He also ranks 12th in the Big South in assists at 3.19 per game and fifth in three-pointers made with 2.50 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. 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. Most recently, he posted another 19-point game in helping CCU to the O'Reilly BracketBuster win over Canisius, Feb. 17, hitting 6-of-14 from the floor, including four three-pointers.
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.
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.
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.
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 had 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.