COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. GAMECOCKS
Jacksonville State's Pete Mathews Coliseum (5,500) ~ Jacksonville, Alabama
Monday, November 21, 2005 ~ 7 p.m.
CHANTS OPEN 2005-06 SEASON ON THE ROAD: Coastal Carolina's men's basketball team starts a new era of basketball on the road, opening the 2005-06 season at Jacksonville State tonight. Tonight marks the debut of new CCU head coach Buzz Peterson and his coaching staff.
THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Buzz Peterson (North Carolina, '79) is in his first season at the helm of the Chanticleers and holds a 166-109 overall coaching record in nine seasons. Last season, Coastal posted a 10-19 mark, including 7-9 in Big South Conference play.Mike LaPlante (Maine, 89) is in his sixth season at Jacksonville State with a 63-81 record as a head coach both with the Gamecocks and as a head coach overall. Last season, Jacksonville State was 7-22 overall and 2-14 in Ohio Valley Conference play, finishing 11th.
SERIES HISTORY: Coastal won the first-ever meeting between the two programs last season, 88-78, Dec. 15, 2004 at Kimbel Arena. In that contest, forward Moses Sonko posted a career-high 21 points, while guard Alvin Green added 20.
YOUTH WILL BE SERVED THIS YEAR: Of the 16 players on the Coastal roster to open this season, eight are freshmen new to the team, while a ninth redshirted last year. Among the returners, there are two seniors, two juniors and three sophomores.
THE WINDING ROAD WAS NOT KIND LAST YEAR: After posting a 4-4 record on the road in the Big South in 2003-04, CCU was 2-6 on the road in the Big South last season, with wins at VMI (Jan. 10) and Birmingham-Southern (Jan. 24) and 2-14 in road games overall.
A SURPRISING PRESEASON POLL: Coastal was picked to finish second in the 2005 Big South Preseason Poll, announced at the league's annual Media Day in Charlotte, N.C., Oct. 15. The poll, voted on by the league's head coaches, sports information directors and selected media members, selected Winthrop as the first-ever unanimous favorite, as the Eagles return all five starters from last year's championship team. UNC Asheville was selected third, one point behind Coastal. Liberty was picked fourth, followed by High Point, Birmingham-Southern, Radford, Charleston Southern and VMI, respectively. DIDN'T I SEE YOU IN CONWAY LAST YEAR: Coastal Carolina made it back-to-back victories with a 88-78 victory over Jacksonville State at CCUs Kimbel Arena, Dec. 15, 2004.
Coastal jumped out early on the visiting Gamecocks, opening the game with a 22-4 run in just over nine minutes. Sparked by junior Pele Paelays eight points, CCU had an 20-point lead at 26-6 with 8:24 to go. JSU went on a 12-2 run of their own to cut the lead to 10 at 28-18 with 5:50 to go in the first half. However, senior Alvin Greens three-pointer stemmed the tide, and the Chanticleers went into the halftime lockerroom with a 42-33 advantage. Green led the Coastal effort with 11 in the opening half, as the Chanticleers shot 58.6 percent from the field, including knocking down 4-of-6 from the three-point arc. CCUs defense made a difference also, limiting Jacksonville State to 39.3 percent from the field, including shutting out JSUs leading scorer, Walker Russell, in the half.
Jacksonville State cut into CCUs lead early in the second half, getting to within seven on two occasions, the last at 45-38 with 17:36 to play. But the Chants would have the answer every time, pushing the lead to as many as 16 with just over eight minutes to go in the game. CCUs lead only dipped under double figures one other time in the late going, as the Chants salted the game away by knocking down 17-of-23 free throws in the second half.
Coastal hit at a stellar 57.4 percent clip from the field, including 5-for-11 from three-point range. The Chanticleers converted 15 JSU turnovers into 20 points. The Gamecocks hit 61.5 percent from the field in the second half to finish the game at 50 percent, but were outrebounded by CCU 32-27.
Coastal sophomore Moses Sonko tied his career best with game-highs of 21 points and nine rebounds, while Green added 20, seven rebounds and seven assists. Junior Colin Stevens had 16 points, while Paelay chipped in 14. Jacksonville State was led by B.J. Spencer with 25 points, while Dorien Brown added 17. Russell finished with 12 points and nine assists, with all scoring in the second half and most of that after the game was decided.
PRESEASON HONORS: Coastal Carolina had two players honored on the Preseason All-Big South squad. Senior guard Pele Paelay and sophomore guard Jack Leasure were recognized by the league's coaches, sports information directors and media panel.
The 2004-05 Big South Player of the Year, Paelay finished second in the voting behind this seasons Preseason Player of the Year Torrell Martin of Winthrop. The guard started 28 of 29 games last year and led the Big South in scoring with 16.8 points per game. He also led the league and ranked 21st nationally in steals and was sixth in rebounding and 11th in assists in the conference. Paelay scored in double figures in 27 of 29 games and led CCU in scoring 14 times and rebounds in 12 games. He scored a career-high and league season-high 38 points at VMI last season.
Leasure, the 2004-05 Big South Freshman of the Year, averaged 14.5 poinits a game last season and increased the output to 15.8 during league play, fifth-best overall. He led the Conference and ranked in the top 30 nationally with 2.93 three-pointers per game and .425 three-point field goal percentage, and carries a streak of 21-straight games with a three-pointer into the season. Leasure saved his best for last, scoring a career-high 25 points, including five three-pointers, in the 2005 Big South Quarterfinals at top-seeded Winthrop.
KIMBEL HAS ITS ADVANTAGES: Coastal Carolina's Kimbel Arena may seat just over 1,000 fans, but it had been large for the Chanticleers the previous two seasons. Coastal was 9-1 in non-conference play during the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, with the only loss a 73-72 heartbreaker to the College of Charleston early in the 2003-04 season. Coastal was a combined 17-9 at home over the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons, and finished 8-5 in 2004-05.
NATIONAL RANKINGS LAST YEAR: Coastal had two players among the top 50 in the nation in their respective categories last season. Jack Leasure ranked 21st in three-point field goal percentage at 42.5 percent and 29th with 2.9 threes per game, while Pele Paelay ranked 27th in steals at 2.4 per game.A WIN IN EXHIBITION: The Coastal Carolina mens basketball team opened the era of new head coach Buzz Peterson with an 81-61 exhibition win over visiting Anderson, Nov. 11. This was CCUs only exhibition game prior to the 2005-06 regular season.
Anderson scored the first point of the game and led 3-2 early in the contest. However, the Chanticleers took the lead for good on a layup by sophomore forward Chad Ferguson (North Las Vegas, Nev./Cheyenne) with 16:50 to go in the first half. The visiting Trojans kept it close for the next six minutes before CCU put on a surge to build the lead at eight with nine minutes to go in the half at 22-14. The squads exchanged baskets and CCU eventually went into the locker room with a 41-32 halftime lead.
The Chants took off at the start of the second half, scoring 15 points unanswered to make it 56-32 with 14:31 to go in the game. Anderson did cut it to 17 on two occasions in the second half and even to 15 with just more than two minutes left in the contest. However, CCU did score seven of the last nine points of the game for the 20-point victory.
Coastal shot 47.5 percent (29-for-61) for the contest, while Anderson shot 45.1 percent (23-for-51) in the game. However, the difference in the game was turnovers, as the Chanticleers forced 34 Trojan turnovers and converted them into 41 points. CCU also recorded five blocked shots in the game.
CCU was led by senior guard Pele Paelay (Derwood, Md./Magruder) with 21 points, scoring on 8-for-14 from the field, and added six rebounds and six steals. Sophomore guard Jack Leasure (Rochester, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit) chipped in 20 points, while Ferguson had eight points and nine rebounds.
Anderson was led by guard J.R. Howell with 15 points, while guard Alfred Boykin had 10 points. Center Randy Javois had eight rebounds and a game-high 10 rebounds.
PAELAY GETS IT DONE: Senior Pele Paelay made things happen offensively for Coastal in the 2004-05 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 averaged a league-bests of 16.8 points and 2.4 steals per game and added 6.0 rebounds. He also led CCU in scoring 15 times and 12 times in rebounding, while tallying double-digit scoring in 27 of 29 contests. He was the only player in the Big South Conference to rank in the top 10 in scoring (1st), rebounding (6th) and steals (1st) and was 11th in assists.AT YOUR LEASURE: Freshman Jack Leasure was impressive on the offensive end of the floor in his freshman 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 Hawaii Nov. 26. He recently scored 23 points, including at High Point, Feb. 12. He averaged 14.5 points (seventh in the Big South) and hitting 42.5 percent (85-of-200) from the three-point arc, second best in the Big South Conference. He also led the league and rankd 29th nationally in three-pointers per game with 2.93. Leasure improved his averages to 15.8 points (third in the Big South) and 2.8 rebounds per game in league play.
HITTING FROM LONG RANGE: Coastal hit early and often from long range in the 2004-05 season. The Chanticleers knocked down an average of 7.0 three pointers a game on 36.0 percent shooting.
SOME KEY ITEMS FOR COASTALS VICTORIES: Several trends developed in regards to Coastal winning in the 2004-05 season. Coastal was 8-5 when leading at the half and 10-3 when leading with five minutes to go in the game. CCU was 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 1-14 when trailing at halftime, with an average deficit of 9.8 points at the intermission in those games they trail at the half.
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 was 4-4 in its Big South games decided by nine or less. Last 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. Most recently, Coastal defeated Charleston Southern by three at Kimbel Arena, Feb. 21.
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 www.GoCCUSports.com. 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.