BIRMINGHAM, Ala. Home court advantage held true in the Birmingham-Southern versus Coastal Carolina series this season as the Panthers earned an 88-80 home win over the Chanticleers Monday night in Bill Battle Coliseum. BSC gained revenge for a 74-67 Chants win on Jan. 19 in Conway, S.C.
Junior Josiah James notched a career-high 21 points on 13-of-14 free throw shooting to lead BSC. T.R. Reed and Jakob Sigurdarson scored 17 each and Rashard Willie had 10 points. Reed had 13 rebounds as well for his sixth double-double of the year.
"Josiah James had by far his best game of the season," Panther Head Coach Duane Reboul said. "He was drawing fouls and going toward the basket instead of fading away which he had been doing earlier in the season. He put himself on the line and hit the shots."
The Panthers built a 39-35 halftime lead and led by as many as 11 in the first period of play. Coastal climbed back into the contest and took a one-point lead at 27-26 at the 4:54 mark of the first when Brandon Newby drained a three from the left side.
Newby, who finished with 25 points on 7-of-10 free throw shooting and 5-of-7 from downtown. Foul trouble burdened him in the second, however, as the junior swingman scored 17 in the first half. Alvin Green scored 19 points for the Chants, who shot 20-of-29 free throws themselves.
Birmingham-Southern 26-of-30 free-throws after the break to hold off a Coastal team that had won six of eight. The Chanticleers pulled to a 53-all tie on a Kelvin Coggins trey at the 12:36 mark of the second, but BSC inched away over the final 10 minutes.
"They were playing smaller guys who were quick to the ball in the second half," Reboul said. "We couldn't play some of our bigger guys because they had a quickness advantage. We had to count on Jakob and T.R. and Josiah to play big and they did. It was a nice win over a tough Big South Conference opponent."
BSC hit the nets for 45.3% and over came three-of-14 shooting from three-point range with their charity stripe work. They out-rebounded their guests, 42-28.
The Panthers drew even at 12-12 overall and 6-5 against the Big South Conference. Coastal dropped to 8-16. The Chants return to action Saturday, Feb. 16, when they travel to meet UNC Asheville at 4:30 p.m.