COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. GOLDEN GOPHERS
Minnesota's Williams Arena (14,625) ~ Minneapolis, Minnesota
Saturday, December 3, 2005 ~ Noon (CST)
THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Buzz Peterson (North Carolina, '86) is in his first season at the helm of the Chanticleers and holds a 167-111 overall coaching record in nine-plus seasons. Last season, Coastal posted a 10-19 mark, including 7-9 in Big South Conference play.
Dan Monson (Idaho, 85) is in his seventh season at Minnesota, with a 102-88 record as a head coach with the Golden Gophers and 154-105 in 12-plus years as a head coach overall. Last season, Minnesota was 21-11 and 10-6 in Big Ten Conference play, tying for fourth and advancing to the NCAA Tournament. The Golden Gophers return two starters and seven letterwinners from last year's squad.
SERIES HISTORY: This will be the first ever meeting between Coastal and Minnesota. However, the Chants are 0-5 against current Big Ten members, having played Wisconsin (0-2), Michigan (0-1), Ohio State (0-1) and Purdue (0-1).
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.
CCU dropped its first two road games of the 2005-06 season at Jacksonville State and at Wisconsin.
GETTING THE FIRST WIN ON THE BOARD: The Coastal Carolina mens basketball team started the home portion of the 2005-06 schedule with a resounding 70-35 victory over visiting Coker, Nov. 30.
Both teams were slow offensively in the early going, with CCU taking the early 4-2 lead. CCU pushed it to 10-2 with 12:53 to go in the half on three-pointers by guards Jack Leasure and Mario Sisinni. Coker kept it close, cutting it to two at 14-12 five minutes later, but the Chanticleers put on a 16-5 run to close out the half and take a 30-17 lead into the halftime lockerroom.
Coastal warmed up offensively in the second half, hitting on 44.8 percent (13-for-29) of its shots from the field, including going 8-for-16 from the three-point arc. The Chants scored the first six points of the second half and continued to build the lead throughout, leading by no fewer than 22 in the last 15 minutes of the game. CCU put the clamps on again in the final stanza, outscoring the visitors 40-18.
The Chants hit 41.1 percent (23-for-56) from the field for the game, but limited the Cobras to just 23.1 (9-for-39) percent for the contest. CCU also outrebounded Coker, 43-28, resulting in 19 second-chance points for Coastal. The Chanticleers also converted 21 Coker turnovers into 22 points.
Leasure led all scorers with 23 points, 18 of them coming in the second half. He also set a new career-best and tied the fourth highest single-game total in school history with seven three-pointers. Forward Moses Sonko added 12, while guard Pele Paelay chipped in 10. Forwards Matt Brennan and Chad Ferguson tied for game-high rebounding honors with eight each.
Coker was led by guard Johnny Jackson with 19 points and five rebounds, while forward Abram Ludd contributed nine points and seven rebounds.
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 scored 23 points, including at High Point, Feb. 12, 2004. He averaged 14.5 points (seventh in the Big South) and hit 42.5 percent (85-of-200) from the three-point arc, second best in the Big South Conference. He also led the league and ranked 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.
This season, Leasure leads the Chants in scoring, averaging 17.0 points a game and adding 5.0 rebounds. He has hit 13 three-pointers, including a career-best seven in the win over Coker, Nov. 30. His seven three-pointers ties for the fourth best single-game performance in Coastal history.
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.
In the early going this season, CCU has hit on 36.7 percent of its three-point attempts and is averaging 9.7 triples a game.
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.
TONIGHT'S INJURY REPORT: For the game at Minnesota, forwards Logan Johnson (right knee) and Noah Nichols (right foot) are out.
A TOUGH TIME IN THE CHEESE STATE: The Coastal Carolina mens basketball team struggled offensively against a very good Wisconsin team, losing to the host Badgers, 92-54, Nov. 26.
Coastal kept it close early, trailing just 7-6 with 14:52 left to go in the first half. However, Wisconsin put on a dominating 34-11 run for the remainder of the half to lead 41-17 at the intermission. Coastal shot just 29.2 percent (7-for-24) from the field in the first half, including just 3-for-15 from the three-point line. UW shot 54.2 percent (13-for-24) in the opening stanza. Wisconsin also had 12 points from the charity stripe in the first, while CCU did not get to the line in the first half.
Wisconsin continued the dominance to start the second half, going on a 13-3 run over the first 2:56 to build the lead to 54-20. The lead continued to stretch throughout the second half, with Coastal eventually making a little run of its own on three pointers by forwards Moses Sonko and Chad Ferguson to cut into the Badger advantage, but to little avail.
Coastal improved in the second half, hitting 48.0 percent (12-for-25) from the field and 6-for-12 from the three-point line. CCU finished the game at 38.8 percent from the field, while Wisconsin was 54.1 percent from the floor. CCU also committed 22 turnovers to just 11 for UW.
Sonko finished with 19, while guard Pele Paelay added 13 in the game for CCU. Wisconsin was led by Kammeron Taylor with a game-high 20 points.
THE OPENING GAME WAS A TALE OF TWO HALVES: The Coastal Carolina men's basketball team opened its 2005-06 season with an 82-71 loss at Jacksonville State, Nov. 21.
The Chanticleers jumped out early in the contest, as sophomore Jack Leasure hit back-to-back three pointers to open the scoring, giving Coastal a quick 6-0 lead less than a minute into the contest. Coastal continued to lead throughout the first half, building the lead to as many as 13 with 4:35 to go in the half, before settling for a 46-34 halftime advantage.
The host Gamecocks came out on fire in the second half after CCU got the first basket, scoring the next seven points to cut the margin to seven at 48-41 with 16:48 to go in the game. JSU continued to chip away at the lead by each media timeout, eventually tying the game at 65 with 6:04 to go. With exactly five minutes to go, the two teams were tied at 67, but the Gamecocks went on an 8-0 run over the next 1:56 to take control of the game. JSU pushed it to the final margin with free throws down the stretch.
Coastal did shoot 48.9 percent for the game from the field, but was just 36.4 percent (8-for-22) in the second half. JSU shot 43.4 percent in the game but were a solid 50.0 percent (11-for-22) in the second half and took advantage of the free throw line, canning 22-of-25 attempts in the second half and 29-for-36 for the game (80.6 percent). One difference was turnovers, as CCU committed 23 turnovers, 16 of them in the second half.
CCU was led by Leasure with 21 points, including five three-pointers, while freshman Matt Brennan chipped in 15 in his Coastal debut. Senior Pele Paelay had 12, while sophomore Chad Ferguson posted 10.
Jacksonville State had three in double figures, as Walker D. Russell had 19 and Dorien Brown and Courtney Bradley each had 17. Brown made it a double-double with a game-high 14 rebounds.
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. CCU did open the 2005-06 schedule with a resounding 70-35 victory over Coker.
HOME OPENERS HAVE BEEN FUN: The Chanticleers have enjoyed success in home openers during the program's history. Coastal is now 23-9 in home openers in its 31 years of college basketball, including 15-6 since moving to NCAA Division I.
SEASON OPENERS: Coastal is now 10-10 in season openers since moving up to Division I prior to the 1985-86 season. Overall, CCU is now 19-13 in the first game of the year.
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.
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.
MAKING THE DEBUT A POSITIVE ONE: Freshman Matt Brennan had a positive impact in the opener at Jacksonville State, Nov. 21. In his collegiate debut, Brennan started and played 28 minutes, scoring 15 points, including 3-for-3 from the field and 9-for-11 from the free throw line.
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.
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.
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.