Men's Basketball Opens Advance Auto Parts Big South Tournament at Winthrop


Men's Basketball Opens Advance Auto Parts Big South Tournament at Winthrop

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Coastal Carolina University Men's Basketball


2005 Advance Auto Parts Big South Conference Tournament Quarterfinals
WU's Winthrop Coliseum (6,100) ~ Rock Hill, South Carolina
Monday, March 1, 2005 ~ 7 p.m.

RIGHT NOW, THERE'S NO TOMORROW: Eighth-seeded Coastal Carolina travels the familiar road to Rock Hill, SC, to take on the top-seeded Winthrop Eagles in the opening round of the 2005 Advance Auto Parts Big South Conference Tournament, Tue., Mar. 1. Coastal enters the game with a 10-18 mark overall and tied for fourth in the league with a 7-9 mark. Winthrop enters with a 24-5 mark overall and 15-1 mark in Big South Conference play, with the only blemish coming in the league opener at Coastal, Jan. 5.

SERIES HISTORY: Coastal holds a 31-26 advantage over Winthrop, but CCU is just 10-18 in Rock Hill. Coastal has won just one time in the last eight meetings, but that occurred during the 2002-03 season, as CCU won 64-50.

The two teams split this season's series, with each squad winning on its home floor. However, the Chanticleers and Eagles last met on Jan. 22, the longest time since the last meeting of any two teams facing each other in the opening round.

THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Pete Strickland (Pittsburgh, '79) is in his seventh season at the helm of the Chanticleers and holds a 70-126 overall coaching record. Last season, Coastal posted a 14-15 mark, including 8-8 in Big South Conference play.

Gregg Marshall (Randolph-Macon, ’85) is in his seventh season at Winthrop, with a 139-69 record as a head coach for the Eagles and as a head coach overall. Last season, Winthrop was 16-12 overall and 10-6 in league play, tying for third in the regular season.

NATIONAL RANKINGS: Coastal has two players among the top 50 in the nation in their respective categories as of Feb. 21. Jack Leasure ranks 30th with 2.9 threes per game, and 32nd in three-point field goal percentage at 42.0 percent while Pele Paelay ranks 30th in steals at 2.4 per game.

UPPING THE GAME IN LEAGUE PLAY: It is said that teams have to step up their play when they get to league play, and CCU is proof of that in the Big South stats this season. Junior Pele Paelay has increased his scoring average from 16.4 points in non-conference action to 17.5 points in Big South play, while freshman Jack Leasure (11.8 to 15.8), sophomore Adrian Gross (5.6 to 6.5) and senior Alvin Green (5.7 to 8.0) have all seen significant increases in their scoring in the 16 league tilts.

EARNING TOP LEAGUE HONORS: Coastal Carolina's Pele Paelay and Jack Leasure were named the Big South Conference's Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, respectively. The awards, announced Feb. 28 by the league office, were voted on by the Big South's coaches, sports information directors and selected media representatives. Senior Clint Nagel was also named to the league's All-Academic Squad by the conference's sports information directors.

Paelay enters the 2005 Advance Auto Parts Men’s Basketball Championship leading the Big South in overall scoring at 17.0 points per game, and placed second in the League in Conference-Only scoring with a 17.5 average. The junior ranks sixth overall in rebounding (6.1), first in steals (2.46) and 10th in assists (2.75), and has been one of approximately six players nationwide to rank in his Conference’s top 10 in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. Paelay tied for the League-high with nine 20-point games, and recorded the highest scoring output of the season with a 38-point effort at VMI, Jan. 10. He was Coastal’s top scorer in 15 games and top rebounder 12 times, was one of just two Big South players to record two 20-point, 10-rebound games this season, and reached double-figures in scoring in 26 of 28 games, including all 16 Big South tilts. This is the seventh time a Chanticleer has won the award, as Big South Hall of Fame member Tony Dunkin won it an unmatched four times (1989-93) and Torrey Butler won it twice (2000-01 and 2002-03).

Leasure enjoyed a fine freshman campaign as he ranks seventh in overall scoring at 14.1, while placing fifth in League games at 15.8. He scored 20-or-more points in six Big South games this year, and leads the League and ranks in the top-30 nationally with 2.86 three-pointers per game. He also ranks in the top-40 in three-point percentage. He enters the 2005 Advance Auto Parts Men’s Basketball Championship having hit a three-pointer in 20 straight games, the longest streak in the League this season, averaging 2.97 treys in that span. Leasure knocked down at least three three-pointers in a game 18 times this season, and was New Balance Big South Freshman of the Week six times, tying the single-season League record. He is just the third CCU player to earn the honor, joining Tony Dunkin (1989-90) and Steve Miles (1998-99).

Nagel started all 27 games for the Chanticleers this season, averaging 5.8 points and a team-best 6.4 rebounds a game, ranking third in the league in rebounding. He led Coastal in rebounding 13 times, including posting a career-high 12 rebounds earlier this season at Evansville. He also scored a career-best 13 points in a home win recently over Charleston Southern. Nagel is carrying a 3.418 grade point average in marketing.

CLOSE CALLS IN THE BIG SOUTH A REGULAR FOR CCU: Games in the Big South are always a battle, and last year's numbers prove it for Coastal Carolina. Last season in the league, 11 of CCU's 16 Big South contests were decided by nine points or less, with Coastal holding a 4-7 mark in those games. CCU is now 4-4 in its Big South games decided by nine or less. Earlier this season, CCU defeated Winthrop by eight and lost by seven to Liberty. CCU earned a one-point win at Birmingham-Southern, Jan. 24. The Chants dropped a gut-wrenching two-point game at Charleston Southern, Feb. 3, but rebounded with a five-point win over VMI, Feb. 5. Coastal dropped a seven-point game at High Point, Feb. 12 and a four-point loss at Liberty, Feb. 14. Recently, Coastal defeated Charleston Southern by three at Kimbel Arena, Feb. 21.

THE WINDING ROAD HAS NOT BEEN KIND: After posting a 4-4 record on the road in the Big South last season, CCU was 2-6 on the road in the Big South this season, with wins at VMI (Jan. 10) and Birmingham-Southern (Jan. 24) and 2-13 in road games overall.

THIS YEAR AGAINST WINTHROP: In this year's two meetings, Coastal has been led by their All-Conference selections, junior Pele Paelay and freshman Jack Leasure. Paelay has averaged 23.5 points and 6.0 rebounds a game and hit 58.6 percent (17-for-29) from the floor. Leasure has not been far behind, scoring 21.0 points per game, including going 47.4 percent (9-for-19) from the three-point arc. However, CCU trailed in the board battle by an average of five per game.

PAELAY GETS IT DONE: Junior Pele Paelay has made things happen offensively for Coastal this season. Paelay knocked down a career-high 27 points and made it his first career double-double with 11 rebounds at Evansville, Nov. 23. He later followed up that performance with 22 points and 11 rebounds at UNC Greensboro, Nov. 23. Paelay had a career-high 38 points and eight rebounds in the win at VMI, Jan. 10. The 38 points are the sixth most in school history and best in the league this year, while his 14 field goals tied for third in CCU annals. For the season, Paelay is averaging a league-best 17.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 steals a game, leading the team in both points and steals. He has also led CCU in scoring 15 times and 12 times in rebounding, while tallying double-digit scoring in 26 of 28 contests. He is the only player in the Big South Conference to rank in the top 10 in scoring (1st), rebounding (6th) and steals (1st) and assists (10th).

AT YOUR LEASURE: Freshman Jack Leasure has been impressive on the offensive end of the floor in his first collegiate season. He opened his collegiate career Nov. 19 with 16 points against Indiana State and followed it up with 17 points, including five three-pointers, at Evansville, Nov. 21. Leasure then had a career high 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting against Hawai’i Nov. 26. He is now averaging 14.1 points (seventh in the Big South) and hitting 41.5 percent (79-of-188) from the three-point arc, second best in the Big South Conference. He also leads the league in three-pointers per game with 2.86. Leasure has improved his averages to 15.8 points (fifth in the Big South) and 2.8 rebounds per game in league play.

CAREER HIGHS FOR GROSS: After only scoring two points all of 2003-04, sophomore Adrian Gross showed he can be a major part of the Coastal squad this season. He put it all together for his first career double-double with then career-highs of 13 points and a team-high 11 rebounds at UNC Greensboro, Nov. 23. He surpassed both career-bests with his second double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds at home against High Point, Jan. 17. He posted his third double-double with 12 points and a career-high 16 rebounds in the home win over UNC Asheville, Jan. 30. The 16 rebounds tie for the 10th most in school history. He is now averaging 6.3 points and 5.6 rebounds (eighth in the Big South) in 21 games.

HITTING FROM LONG RANGE: Coastal has hit early and often from long range in the 2004-05 season. The Chanticleers have knocked down an average of 7.0 three pointers a game on 35.4 percent shooting.

THIS YEAR'S PREVIOUS MEETINGS --DEFEATING THE EAGLES IN THE BIG SOUTH OPENER: Coastal Carolina University came out running early and made it stand, defeating Winthrop University 76-68 at Kimbel Arena in the opener of Big South play for both squads, Jan. 5.

After Winthrop grabbed the early lead at 6-2 in the first two minutes, the Chanticleers got it rolling, going on a 22-5 run over the next 6:44 to grab a 24-11 lead with 11:38 to play in the first half. Coastal maintained a double-digit lead throughout the most of the half, but led by just nine, 40-31, at the intermission. The 40 first half points scored by CCU were the most Winthrop has given up in the opening half this season.

Both teams were strong offensively in the first half, as the Eagles hit 58.3 percent from the field, while CCU was 51.7 percent from the field including 53.8 percent from the three-point arc. Coastal freshman Jack Leasure knocked down four three-pointers in the opening stanza and finished with 14. Winthrop was led by Junior Otis Daniels with 12 points and four rebounds.

The Eagles came out of the lockerroom firing and were able to close Coastal’s lead to five at 15:44 on Torrell Martin’s jumper. Sparked by junior Pele Paelay’s aggressive play, including eight points and one steal over the next six minutes, the Chants surged back to a 60-44 advantage with 9:26 left to play. Winthrop clawed their way back into the game cutting the Chants lead to nine with 3:10 left to play, but could not sustain the momentum as the Chants offensive play down the stretch was the difference. The Chants forced the Eagles into late fouls and converted their chances, going 6-for-8 from the line in the last three minutes of play. WU’s Michael Jenkins’ three pointer pulled the Eagles within seven with just 34 seconds left in the contest, but CCU held on.

This was the first win for the Chanticleers in the last three meetings, with Coastal holding a 31-24 advantage overall. Even though Winthrop out rebounded Coastal 39-34, Coastal was able to convert 16 Winthrop miscues into 21 points and outscored the Eagles 18-5 on the fast break.

Offensively, Leasure led all scorers with career-best 24, while Paelay added 17 points and senior Alvin Green chipped in 14. Daniels was the leading scorer for the Eagles with 18 points, while grabbing seven rebounds. Martin and Scott Draughn each added 14.

THIS SEASON'S MEETING AT THE WINTHROP COLISEUM - LOSING ON THE ROAD AT WINTHROP: Junior Pele Paelay scored a game-high 30 for Coastal Carolina, but it came in defeat as the Chanticleers were downed by Big South Conference rival Winthrop University 80-66, at Winthrop Coliseum in Rock Hill, SC on Saturday, Jan. 22.

The game was back and forth contest in the beginning with neither team able to open up more than a three-point lead until a layup by WU junior forward Otis Daniel gave Winthrop a 16-12 lead. Coastal saw the deficit quickly grow to 10 at 26-16, the final points on a three-pointer by Winthrop sophomore forward Philip Williams. A three-pointer by freshman Chad Ferguson would finally get the lead under ten at 38-29. However, it would be as close as the Chanticleers could get, as the Eagles closed the first half on a 9-2 run for 47-31 lead heading into intermission.

The Chants would start the second half on an early 7-1 run, spearheaded by senior guard Alvin Green’s driving layup to cut it to 48-36. CCU would again get the game within single digits at 51-43 with 15:06 on a three-pointer by Paelay. But that would be as close as the Chants could get the remainder of the game. The lead would again grow to as much as 18 in the closing minutes, as Winthrop coasted in the late stages to a 80-66 victory.

Coastal was outshot in this one, both from the field, as the Chanticleers hit just 40 percent (23-for-57) from the floor, as compared to Winthrop’s 47 percent (24-for-51). WU also dominated the free throw line, going to the line 38 times and hitting 26 of them, while CCU shot a paltry 46 percent (12-for-26) from the charity stripe.

Paelay was an impressive 11-for-18 from the field and 5-for-6 from the charity stripe for 30 points, eclipsing the 30-point mark for the second time in his Coastal career. He also had a team-high seven rebounds in the loss. Freshman guard Jack Leasure was the only other Chant in double figures with 18, including going 4-for-9 from the three-point arc. The Eagles had four players in double figures, led by Torrell Martin with 16 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

SOME KEY ITEMS FOR COASTAL’S VICTORIES: Several trends developed in regards to Coastal winning early in the 2004-05 season. Coastal is 8-5 when leading at the half and 10-3 when leading with five minutes to go in the game. CCU is also 8-3 when holding opponents under 70 points and 7-1 when getting to the free throw line more than its opponents. Conversely, the Chanticleers are 1-13 when trailing at halftime, with an average deficit of 9.6 points at the intermission in those games they trail at the half.

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 Matt Hogue returns for his eighth year as "Voice of the Chanticleers". In addition, a returning feature this year will be Live Game Stats of all CCU home basketball games on the Internet.



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