Leasure Sets Big South Three-Point Record But Men's Hoops Falls to UNC Asheville, 78-72
ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- Senior guard Jack Leasure became the Big South's all-time leading three-point shooter and just the eighth men's player in NCAA Division I history to reach 400 career three-pointers, but it wasn't enough as Coastal Carolina fell to host UNC Asheville, 78-72, Feb. 27. With the loss, Coastal fell to 13-13 and 6-7 in the Big South, while UNC Asheville moved to 20-8 and 9-4 in the league.
The opening minutes of the game were a frenzy, as both teams knocking down shots and Coastal leading 18-14 with 12:39 to play in the first. At that point, UNCA's Kenny George came into the game and took over, scoring 10 of the next 12 Bulldog points, going perfect in five field goal attempts, to put UNCA up 26-23 just three minutes later. UNC Asheville then continued to build the lead as they outscored CCU 30-4 in the paint in the first half, eventually leading by 10 at the intermission, 45-35.
UNCA continued to lead throughout the second half, building the lead to as many as 15 at 62-47 with 9:40 remaining in the game. CCU then went on a 11-2 run over the next three-and-a-half minutes, capped by a three-pointer by Leasure, to cut it to 64-58 with 6:47 to go. However a conventional three-point play by Vincent James and a triple by K.J. Garland on the next two possessions pushed the lead back to 12 at 70-58 with 5:54 remaining. One last push by the Chants with an 11-2 run, including a pair of triples by Leasure, go it to a 72-69 UNCA lead with 2:23 to go, but CCU could get no closer as the host Bulldogs hit all six free throws in the closing minutes to seal the win.
Coastal hit just 43.3 percent (26-of-60) overall from the floor, but blistered the net from the three-point arc, tying a school record with 16 three pointers and going 50.0 percent (16-of-32) from the arc. UNC Asheville was impressive from the floor, going 54.5 percent (30-of-55) from the field, including 20-of-33 (60.6 percent) in the first half. UNC Asheville dominated in the pain, outscoring CCU 44-12 and also won the rebounding battled 34-30. The host Bulldogs also made a difference at the free throw line, going 12-of-17 compared to just 4-of-5 for the Chanticleers.
Leasure led all scorers with a game-high 27 points on 9-of-15 three-point shooting. He hit his 400th three when he knocked down his fourth three of the game with just over two minutes remaining in the half and eventually became the Big South's record holder when he hit his sixth triple of the contest with 14:30 remaining in the game. He currently has 405 in 115 career games. Junior guard Mario Sisinni was the only other Chanticleer in double figures with 14 points. UNCA was led by George and Garland who each had 18, while John Williams and Bryan Smithson contributed 12 and 11, respectively.
Coastal wraps up the regular season at Charleston Southern, Sat., Mar. 1 at 7:30 p.m. Coastal must win the game, along with losses by VMI and Liberty, to host the opening round of the Advance Auto Parts Big South Conference Championship.