#ChantsInCuba: Day 2 -- Gameday No. 1
HAVANA, Cuba - After two days of traveling and an opportunity to experience some of the cultural elements of Cuba, the Coastal Carolina University men's basketball team finally got to do what they came to Cuba for -- play basketball. The Chanticleers ultimately fell 76-68 to the Cuban National Team at the Sports City complex in Havana. The historic contest was played in front of nearly 1,000 spectators and a national television audience.
Prior to the game the teams and coaching staffs continued the longstanding international tradition of exchanging gifts. The Chanticleers presented their hosts polos and hats featuring the Chanticleer logo along with 40 new basketballs. The Cubans gifted the men of Conway Cuban flag lapel pins.
Below is an account of the day/game by junior guard Elijah Wilson followed by a brief recap of the game.
After being in Cuba for a couple days we finally had an opportunity to play our first game against the Cuban national team. It was a great experience for all of us to compete against professional basketball players. Even though we fell short of getting a victory today I think it will be great learning lesson for us all to test where we are all both individually and as a team. After the game today I think we as a team will be better prepared for the next two games and know what to expect.
Thanks for reading and Go Chants. Elijah Wilson
The Chanticleers were represented on the scoreboard at Sports City as team USA along with the American flag instead of the usual CCU and Coastal Carolina logo.
Redshirt sophomore Jaylen Shaw opened the Chants' scoring at the 7:46 mark of the first quarter with a 3-pointer from the right wing. A forced turnover on the opposite end led to a Badou Diagne 15-foot jumper and a 5-4 Coastal lead. Shivaughn Wiggins then extended the Chants lead to 7-4 with a floater from the left elbow, but the Cubans countered with a 16-7 run to take a 20-14 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Elijah Wilson scored the opening five points of the second quarter via a trey and a layup to cut the Cuban's lead to 20-19. Cuba again responded to take a 26-19 lead with just under six minutes to play in the half. However, the Chants would not go away as Diagne drained a three and Wiggins converted an old-fashioned 3-point play to cut their deficit to 25-26. The Chants regained the lead at 31-30 on a Wiggins free throw with 3:03 to go before the half, but the Cubans ended the quarter on a 10-4 run to take a 40-35 lead into the intermission.
The second half started with a thunderous dunk by Diagne from a Wiggins assist. The teams then exchanged baskets over the ensuing three minutes before the Chants spurted for a two quick buckets, cutting the Cubans' lead to a 49-47 at the 3:47 mark of the quarter. The Chants would get no closer and Yoan L. Haiti's basket with 59 seconds to play in the quarter pushed the hosts to a 57-53 lead entering the fourth and final period.
Ron Trapps scored first in the fourth quarter and sparked the Chants to a 9-4 run that left the visitors ahead 62-61 following a Diagne jumper with 6:40 to play. Two possessions later Cuba's Javier Justiz scored inside to regain the advantage on the scoreboard. However, the Cuban lead would not last as Wilson immediately answered with a jumper, giving Coastal a 64-63 lead. Cuba scored inside on its next two possessions to open a 69-66 lead with 2:54 to go in regulation. The Chants would not find a final push to regain the lead as Cuba went on for the 76-68 victory.
Diagne led four Chants in double-figures with 14 points followed by Wiggins and Wilson with 12 each and Shaw with 11. Trapps scored nine, while Marcus Freeman added eight. Tristian Curtis completed the Coastal scoring with two points.
Coastal will play the Cuban National Team again Sunday at 4:30 p.m.