CONWAY, S.C. -- After eight days off for finals, the Coastal Carolina men's basketball team came out solid and led from start to finish in an 81-66 victory over visiting Jacksonville, Dec. 11. With the victory, CCU advanced to 2-3 on the young season, while JU dropped to 1-4.
The Chanticleers got out to a good start, scoring the first six points of the game in less than two minutes on baskets by guards Pele Paelay, Steven Sexton and Jack Leasure. JU got on the board with their first basket by Antonio Cool with 17:49 to go to trail 6-2, but the Dolphins could not get closer than that the remainder of the game. CCU continued to push the advantage throughout the first half, eventually building a lead of as many as 16 in the first half. The Chants finished with a 44-31 halftime advantage.
CCU forced 17 Jacksonville turnovers in the first half, converting them into 21 points, and the Chants posted 15 fast break points to just two for the visiting Dolphins. Leasure tallied 18 in the first half for Coastal, while Paelay had 11. JU was led by Aubrey Conerly with 12 points in the opening stanza.
The Chants opened the second stanza on the attack again, scoring the first four points of the half to push the margin to 17. Coastal continued to attack on both ends of the floor and it showed on the scoreboard, as at 52-35, the Chants went on a 13-5 run to make it 65-40 with 12:36 to go and put the game out of reach. Coastal led again by 25 at 77-52 with 4:30 to go before a late JU surge cut the margin to 11 at 77-66 with just 1:37 to go in the game. CCU scored the final five points of the game for the 81-66 final margin.
Coastal shot 45.6 percent (31-for-68) from the floor for the contest, slightly better than JU's 43.4 percent (23-for-53). The Chants outrebounded the visitors 39-36, as well as forcing 22 JU turnovers that were turned into 31 Coastal points. Coastal also outscored JU in the paint 36-26.
Leasure led all scorers, tying a career-high with 25 points, while also posting a career-best nine assists. Paelay chipped in 23 points and six rebounds, while forward Chad Ferguson had a career-best 11 points and chipped in five rebounds. Jacksonville was led by Conerly with 21 points, with forward Marcus Allen posting a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Coastal will return to action for the second of four games in eight days, hosting South Carolina State, Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.