#ChantsInCuba: Day 3 -- Gameday No. 2
HAVANA, Cuba - The Coastal Carolina University men's basketball team played its second of three international exhibition games against the Cuban National Team in Havana on Sunday. The Chanticleers kept the contest close early; however, the fresher and more experienced Cubans pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 96-72 win.
In the morning prior to playing the game, the team participated in salsa dance lessons administered by professional Cuban dance instructors. The Chants then enjoyed their traditional pregame meal of chicken, rice and vegetables followed by a quick nap before departing for the game at Havana's Sports City.
Below is an account of the day/game by senior forward Tristian Curtis followed by a brief recap of the game.
What an amazing experience today was. The day started with breakfast at about 9:30 a.m., following a salsa lesson by a world renowned salsa instructor by the name of Noye. She is known all around Europe and Latin America for her teachings. We were all partnered up with a Cuban professional salsa dancer where, we all took part in learning salsa. It was quite fun in my opinion because I love dancing and having fun, so now, I can add salsa to my repertoire.
When the salsa lesson was done, we all went to eat our pregame meal at 12:30 p.m. after which we departed for our second game. Game two didn't go as we planned. Unfortunately we lost by a considerably large amount, however, I do feel as though our team is getting better and better as the games progress.
On another note, one observation that I have noticed about the Cuban people is that regardless of their financial situation or whatever it may be, they are very happy and extremely friendly people. This trip is truly an eye-opening and humbling experience considering that though they may seem to have little, they are still very grateful and thankful for what they have. It is teaching me even more to be grateful for the opportunities that I have and for the position I'm in in my life.
I recommend that if you have a chance to visit Cuba, you should because it is and absolutely beautiful place especially with the beautiful architecture of the buildings and that all the 1950's cars are kept in working order. You would think that these cars are brand new.
Overall, it is a wonderful trip and I'm enjoying every minute of it.
Thanks for reading and Go Chants.
Cuba 96, Coastal Carolina 72
Cuba's Osmel Oliva and Coastal's Jaylen Shaw exchanged 3-pointers to ignite the scoring for both teams in the first 1:30 of the game. Coastal then received four points from Shivaughn Wiggins and Elijah Wilson along with two each from Badou Diagne and Marcus Freeman to take a 15-12 lead at the 2:58 mark. Freeman then added five straight points to keep the Chants ahead by an 18-17 count with 1:35 to go in the first quarter. But Cuba's Oliva's second 3-pointer of the game was followed by Jasiel Rivero's five straight points and Lisvan Valdes' three with nine seconds to go, giving the Cubans a 28-20 lead at the end of the quarter.
Coastal scored the first seven points of the second quarter by way of a Wilson three and buckets inside by Wiggins and Tristian Curtis, cutting the deficit to 28-27. Shaw then took over and kept pace with the Cubans, scoring 12 of the Chants' final 15 points in the quarter. With Shaw's efforts and a pair of contorting layups by Wiggins, Coastal entered the half trailing Cuba by only three at 46-43.
Shaw continued his superb performance with a highlight reel worthy up-and-under score and Diagne followed with a massive slam off a Wiggins assist to close the Chants' deficit to 48-47 at the 6:01 mark of the third quarter. Coastal stayed within a possession of their hosts over the ensuing three minutes until Cuba's Yoan L. Haiti scored twice inside and Karel Guzman made a steal in the backcourt and scored easily to provide a 59-50 Cuban lead. The Cubans went on to outscore the Chants 13-11 throughout the remainder of the period to make the score 72-61 after 30 minutes of play.
The Cubans continued to enhance their lead through the first four minutes of the fourth quarter as Coastal's weary legs caused by days of travel and two games within 28 hours caught up to the Chants. Head coach Cliff Ellis then emptied his bench at the five minute mark and Cuba pulled away for the 96-72 victory.
Shaw finished as Coastal's leading scorer with 19 points, while Wiggins scored 16 and Freeman chipped in 10. Wilson accounted for nine points and Ron Trapps eight. Aaron Law (3), Diagne (4), and Curtis (2) rounded out the Chants' scoring.
Coastal will play the Cuban National Team a final time Monday at 4:30 p.m.