ROANOKE, VA Third-seeded Radford used dominating power inside to ease past sixth-seeded Coastal Carolina, 81-66, in the first round of the 2002 Advance Auto Parts Big South Conference Mens Basketball Tournament.
Forward Corey Watkins poured in 27 points, 16 in the second half, and hauled in 10 rebounds while center Andrey Savtchenko added scored 20 points and also had 10 boards to lead the Highlanders in the semi-finals against High Point on Friday night. Watkins and Savtchenko combined to hit 20-of-24 shots from the field as Radford shot 50 percent as a team. Guard Raymond Arrington added balance on the perimeter with 19 points, including an 11-of-13 effort from the foul line.
Antonio Darden led Coastal Carolina with 19 points and 13 rebounds. Brandon Newby added 15 points and Derrick Robinson had 12 for the Chanticleers, who end the season with an 8-20 record.
After holding only a one-point edge (36-35) at the half, Radford was able to open up a nine-point lead at 50-41 with 11:26 to play in the game. Radfords largest lead came at the 7:45 mark at 59-47 before Coastal Carolina went on a 10-2 run over the next two minutes to close to within five at 62-57 with 5:45 remaining.
The Chanticleers could get no closer than five, falling behind by nine at the four minute mark on a basket by Watkins. The Highlanders sealed the deal by hitting free throws down the stretch and scoring 29 points in the game from the charity stripe.