CONWAY, S.C. -- Coastal Carolina's men's basketball team took a lead early in the first half and never relinquished it en route to a 72-57 victory over instate-rival South Carolina State, Dec. 14. With their third consecutive home victory, the Chanticleers evened their record at 3-3, while the Bulldogs fell to 2-5.
SC State got on the board first and the two teams exchanged leads through the first two minutes before guard Jack Leasure's three-pointer put Coastal up 7-5 with 17:38 to go in the half. That triple was the start of a 10-2 run for the Chants that put the home squad up 14-7 with 14:54 to go in the opening stanza. SCSU fought back to cut the margin to four at 14-10 and later to six at 22-16 halfway through the half, but Coastal opened it up to as many as 19 in the first half at 43-24 with 1:28 to go. However, the Bulldogs scored the final four points of the first half to go into the lockerroom with a little momentum but CCU leading 43-28.
South Carolina State continued to chip into the Coastal through the first six and half minutes of the second half, cutting the lead to 46-38 with 13:21 to go. CCU's Leasure then hit another three-pointer to push the margin back to 11 at 49-38. SCSU would cut the lead to eight twice more, including at 53-48 with 10:22 to go. However, the Chants' defense toughened up and Coastal started to convert down the stretch, going on a 10-2 run over the next five minutes to put the game out of reach at 63-47 with 5:11 to go.
Coastal hit on 52.1 percent (25-for-48) of its shots from the floor, including 60.7 percent (17-for-28) in the first half, while limiting SCSU to just 37.2 percent (16-for-43) from the floor for the game. The Chants converted 15 SCSU turnovers into 22 points and Coastal's bench scored a season-high 22 points in the victory.
Leasure finished with a career-high 33 points, hitting 9-for-14 from the floor, 6-for-9 from the three-point line and 9-for-9 at the free throw stripe. He also added four assists and three steals to the effort. Forward Adrian Gross led Coastal on the glass with seven rebounds, while forward Matt Brennan chipped in seven points and six rebounds. South Carolina State was led by Brian Mason with 19 points, while Thurman Zimmerman had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Coastal heads on the road to Wilmington, N.C. this Saturday, Dec. 17 at 7 p.m. to take on UNC Wilmington. This will be the third game in seven days for the Chanticleers.