COASTAL CAROLINA UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL
CHANTICLEERS vs. COUGARS
Myrtle Beach Convention Center (4,600) ~ Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Monday, December 18, 2006 ~ 8:30 p.m.
BACK AT THE BEACH: For the first time since the 2001-02 season, the Coastal Carolina mens basketball squad is hosting a game at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, playing College of Charleston tonight in the nightcap of the Bojangles Basketball Bash.
THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Buzz Peterson (North Carolina, '86) is in his second season at the helm of the Chanticleers with a 24-14 record and holds a 190-123 overall coaching record in 10-plus seasons. Last season, Coastal posted a 20-10 mark, including 12-4 in Big South Conference play.
Bobby Cremins (South Carolina, '70) is in his first season as head coach at College of Charleston and 26th as a head coach overall with a 458-313 mark entering tonight's game. Last season, the Cougars were 17-11 overall and 9-6 in Southern Conference play, finishing third. CofC returns four starters and eight letterwinners to this years team.
SERIES HISTORY: This is the 41st meeting between Coastal Carolina and College of Charleston, with the Cougars holding a commanding 30-10 advantage. CofC has won the last eight meetings, including the most recent game during the 2004-05 season, an 87-69 victory in Charleston. Coastal fans can take heart that the game is in the Myrtle Beach/Conway area though, as the Chanticleers are 9-11 at home against the Cougars. They have met once at the Convention Center on Dec. 22, 1994, with CofC getting a close 75-72 victory.
COASTAL AT THE CONVENTION CENTER: The Chanticleers have played nine previous games at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, posting a 5-4 mark. The last time CCU was here was Dec. 21, 2001, when Coastal got a 67-56 win over visiting Campbell. Tonights game will be only the second time CCU has played a team twice at MBCC in its history, as Coastal has split its two games with The Citadel here.
IT'S THE BUSIEST TIME OF YEAR: After having 10 days off due to finals week, the Chanticleers will be very busy in the 11 days leading up to the Christmas break. During those 11 days, Coastal is playing five games, including road contests at Jacksonville, South Carolina State and Florida State and a battle with College of Charleston in the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. Over the three road trips, the Chants will log over 2,000 miles in travel heading to those three road games.
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 is now 21-3 since the start of the 2002-03 season in non-conference games at home. CCU had a stellar 14-1 record at home last year, the most home victories since the program went Division I for the 1985-86 season. CCU is also 43-15 (74.1 percent) overall at home in the last four-plus years, including a staggering 18-1 under current coach Buzz Peterson.
LAST TIME OUT - BACK TO WINNING WAYS: The Coastal Carolina men's basketball squad extended its home winning streak to nine games with a resounding 85-46 victory over visiting Brevard, Dec. 16.
Coastal dominated the game in the early going and throughout the first half, holding the visitors scoreless for the first six minutes of the game while posting the first 11 points of the contest. CCU continued the push, behind 18 first half points from senior forward Moses Sonko, going on a 29-11 run the remainder of the half to take a 40-13 halftime lead.
The margin was extend to as many as 42 in the second half at 76-34 with 4:26 to play, with the reserves seeing a majority of the playing time in the second half.
CCU shot 56.5 percent from the field (35-of-62), while limiting the Tornados to just 30.0 percent (15-of-50). The Chants dominated the glass 45-20, including 12 offensive rebounds that were converted into 16 points. Coastal also got out in transition effectively, outscoring the visitors 25-4 in fast break points.
The Chanticleers were led in scoring by Sonko with 22, as all 15 players scored and 13 of them got in the scoring column. Off the bench, sophomore Matt Brennan chipped in eight points, while juniors Chad Ferguson and Everage Richardson contributed seven and six, resepectively. Brevard was led by Brian Davison with 15 points, while Jeff Carbuhn had 13.
A LITTLE ABOUT THE COUGARS: College of Charleston comes into today's game with a 4-6 mark, following a 62-60 home victory over Chattanooga, Dec. 14. Brevard has lost back-to-back games and is also 0-5 on the road this season. The Tornados have been led by forward Jonathan Whitson, who is averaging 16.8 points and 8.4 rebounds a contest. Brevard has struggled on both ends, giving up 80.1 points per game while also turning the ball over 18.2 times a contest.
SONKO PARTING THE DEFENSE: And that is exactly what senior forward Moses Sonko has been doing on the offensive end of the floor for Coastal. After averaging 11.7 points a game last year, Sonko has stepped up and increased his scoring to a team-best 15.9 points per game. Over the last three games, he has gone even higher, averaging 22.3 points.
J-MONEY: Junior Jack Leasure has been clutch from the three-point line in the past, but his most notable performance comes from the free-throw line. Leasure is a perfect 15-for-15 thus far on the season, tied for the lead in the nation as of Dec. 10. Leasure has not disappointed from the arc either, as he has hit 25 three-pointers in the early going.
JOIN THE CLUB: With his two free throws in the closing seconds of the win over Wright State, Nov. 19, junior Jack Leasure became the 14th member of CCUs 1000-Point Club, accomplishing the feat in just two years and three games. He currently ranks 13th on Coastal's all-time scoring chart with 1,073 points. He is just 12 points behind DuWayne Cheatam (1988-1991) in 12th with 1,085 career points.
LEADING THE WAY: Leaders often do the little things that don't show up in the stats. However with junior Jack Leasure, senior Moses Sonko and sophomore Joseph Harris, when they show up as leaders in the stats, in normally means good things for the Chanticleers. Over the last 38 games, Leasure has led Coastal in scoring on 17 occasions, posting a 15-2 mark, while when Sonko is the leading board grabber, CCU is 6-3. Harris has led the Chants on the glass in 17 of those contests, with CCU having an 12-5 mark in those games as well.
SONKO CLOSING IN ON THE 1,000 MARK: Senior forward Moses Sonko is working his way towards joining Coastal's elite 1,000-Point Club. He currently has 833 career points, just 167 shy of the magic mark. At his current scoring pace, Sonko would reach the milestone in the home game against VMI, Sat., Feb. 3.
JACK BELIEVES IN MAKING CHARITY COUNT: Junior guard Jack Leasure has made his opportunities at the free throw line worth something in his career. He has hit 108 of his 128 attempts at the line, a clip of 84.4 percent that is currently the best career free throw percentage in Coastal history.
WINNING THE BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: During the Coastal's four wins, one of the keys for the Chanticleers was the rebounding battle. Coastal had dominated on the glass, outrebounding opponents by a combined margin of 193-113, an average of 20.0 more boards per game than its opponents. However in the four losses, the Chanticleers have not won the board battle, losing three and tying one with an average margin of 6.5 rebounds a game.
LEASURE BACK IN HIS ZONE: After ending the 2005-06 season ranked second in the nation in three-pointers at 4.2 per game, junior Jack Leasure opened the season with no treys in the loss against Xavier. However, Leasure made up for that with flying colors in the 83-63 loss to Campbell. He led all scorers hitting five from behind the arc and finished the game with 19 points. He now has 25 three pointers in four games, an average of 3.1 per contest. For his career, Leasure has knocked down 235 three pointers, just 40 triples behind CCU all-time leader KeKe Hicks (1993-96) with 275.
HARRIS DOUBLES UP AGAIN: Sophomore Joseph Harris posted his third consecutive double-double of the season and fifth of his career in the home victory over Asbury, Nov. 22. In the contest, he scored a new career-best 17 points and grabbed 11 boards. The streak at Campbell, Nov. 16, where he had a career-best tying 14 points and 13 rebounds. He followed it up with 12 points and 13 boards against Wright State, Nov. 19.
He currently leads the team at 9.3 boards per contest and is fourth on the squad at 9.4 points per game. He also ranks 84th nationally in blocks per game (1.4) and 98th in steals (2.1). He has at least shared for team-high honors in rebounding in seven of the first eight Coastal games this year.
SONKO SHOOTING IT WELL: Senior forward Moses Sonko has been more assertive on the offensive end of the floor this season. Through Dec. 10, Sonko leads the team and ranks 78th in the nation in field goal percentage, now hitting 59.3 percent of his shots from the floor. On the team, he leads the team in scoring for the first time in his career, scoring 15.9 points per contest.
TEAM NATIONAL RANKINGS: This year, the Chanticleers are ranked in the top 70 nationally in three categories in the early going. Coastal is 28th in assists at 17.5 per game, 29th in steals per game at 9.7 and 64th in rebounding margin at +4.8 per contest.
Coastal was ranked in the top 60 in the nation in five categories as a team in the final 2005-06 rankings. CCU's best ranking was in free-throw percentage, as the Chants were 31st at 74.4 percent from the stripe. Coastal was 32nd in three-pointers per game at 8.2 and 60th in three-point percentage at 37.5 percent. CCU also ranked in assists per game (52nd, 15.9 apg) and field goal percentage (56th, 46.4 percent).
WALK-ONS GETTING THE STAGE: In the home win over Southern Virginia, Nov. 29, two walk-ons got a chance to play their most minutes in a Coastal uniform. Junior David Long and sophomore Ashton Lawrence got in with just over three minutes to play in the contest. Long score one point, grabbed a career-best three rebounds and had his first collegiate block, while Lawrence tallied a career-best four points and added another career-high with three rebounds.
Long then followed it up with his first career start at South Carolina State, Dec. 13. He played a career-best 19 minutes and had three assists, one rebound and one steal in the contest. Long then posted career bests of five points and four assists in the win over Brevard.
A new walk-on saw action against Brevard, as sophomore Michael Ward played four minutes, hitting his only shot for two points, grabbed one rebounds and dished out one assist.
ANOTHER MONTH OF WINNING: With the victory over Southern Virginia, Coastal finished November with a 3-2 mark. This was the sixth consecutive month of play that Coastal had posted a .500 or better mark. As a matter of fact under second year head coach Buzz Peterson, CCU has had only one losing month and that was his first last November with Coastal having a 1-2 mark with losses at Wisconsin and Minnesota as part of the month. Prior to Peterson joining CCU, the Chanticleers had only one .500 month in the previous eight of play.
MACK NAMED BIG SOUTH FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: Coastal Carolina guard Joshua Mack was named the Big South Conferences Mens Basketball Freshman of the Week, announced by the League office Nov. 27. This is Macks first award at CCU.
Mack scored a career-high 17 points in 21 minutes off the bench against Asbury, including 5-of-9 three pointers (55.6 percent). He added four rebounds and three assists, and was 6-of-12 overall from the floor in helping the Chanticleers to a 93-64 victory. For the year, he is averaging 9.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
WINNING THE HOME OPENER: After playing its first two games away from home, the Coastal Carolina men's basketball squad returned to Kimbel Arena with a victory defeating Wright State in double overtime 70-63, Nov. 19. The Chanticleers were led by Jack Leasure, who had 22 points and went a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw line. Moses Sonko also had a big night with 20 points while Joseph Harris chipped in 12 off the bench.
NEWCOMERS GET SOME EXPERIENCE: Coastal had three freshman make a significant impact in the season opener at Xavier, Nov. 11. Redshirt freshman Logan Johnson got his first start in a Chanticleer jersey recording four points and two rebounds. Johnson also was 2-for-2 from the free throw line. Joshua Mack also got his first collegiate start scoring 11 points, including a pair of three-pointers and two rebounds. Randon Cavette tallied five points from off the bench and pulled down one defensive rebound.
THE FIRST YEAR WAS A GOOD START: For head coach Buzz Peterson accomplishing much in Coastal annals. Among first year CCU coaches, he led last year's team to more victories (20) and Big South wins (12) than any previous first-year Coastal coach. He also engineered a 10-win turnaround from last season's 10-19 mark, the third-best in school history and seventh best in Division I basketball last season.
SOME BIG ACCOMPLISHMENTS LAST YEAR: The Chanticleers have some significant accomplishments in the 2005-06 season. Coastal posted its first winning season, both overall and in the Big South, since 1993-94 when CCU was 15-11 and 10-8 in the league. Coastal's 20 wins were the most since the 1992-93 team went 22-10 and the 12 league victories were the most since that same team was 12-4. Additionally, the Chants' 14 home victories last year were the most since the program went Division I during the 1985-86 season.
THEY SAY TALKING ABOUT STREAKS ISN'T GOOD: But for the Chanticleers, the win streak late last year was a good one. CCU put together a 12-game winning streak, surpassing the previous record of 11 games, set during the 1992-93 season. It was also the fourth-longest current win streak in the NCAA Division I when it ended.
MORE HISTORY ACHIEVED: Digging into the historical archives of Coastal basketball, last year's team made its mark on the record books.
Among the team records, Coastal's 20 wins tied for the seventh-most in school history, while the Chanticleers hit 241 three-pointers, setting a new single-season school record. Coastal's free-throw percentage of 74.4 percent (381-for-512) was the top single-season mark in school annals, while last year's team ranked 10th in assists (460) and eighth in blocked shots (64).
INDIVIDUALS IN THE COASTAL RECORD BOOKS: Several Coastal players added their name to the school's records list, both for a single season and for their career.
Last year, guard Jack Leasure broke the school and league's three-pointers made record, a mark set at 125. His 535 points last year rank 10th all-time. Junior forward Moses Sonko finished fifth in single-season free-throw percentage at 84.2 percent and sixth in field-goal percentage at 55.6 percent.
SOME KEY ITEMS FOR COASTALS VICTORIES LAST YEAR: Several trends developed in regards to Coastal winning in the 2005-06 season. Coastal was 17-4 when leading at the break, 18-1 when ahead with five minutes to play and 16-2 when scoring at least 70 points. Defense is always a key, as Coastal was 15-1 when holding opponents to less than 70 points, as well as 11-3 when forcing at least 15 turnovers. The Chants were also 18-2 when giving up less than 15 turnovers and 14-2 when shooting at least 45 percent from the floor. Another interesting note is that when guard Jack Leasure led Coastal in scoring, the Chants were 13-2. Actually in all but one of CCU's 20 victories, either Leasure or guard Pele Paelay at least shared team-high scoring honors. That one game was the win over Charleston Southern in the semifinals, Mar. 2.
PETERSON EARNED RECOGNITION: CCU head coach Buzz Peterson continued to earn regional and national recognition for the job he did with the Chanticleers last year. After finishing as the runner-up for Big South Coach of the Year, Peterson was named a finalist for the Hugh Durham Mid-Major Coach of the Year by CollegeInsider.com, as well as the publication's Big South Coach of the Year. The group also named guard Jack Leasure as its Big South Player of the Year.
AT YOUR LEASURE: Junior Jack Leasure was impressive on the offensive end of the floor in his first two seasons as a Chanticleer. Last season, Leasure led the Chants in scoring, averaging a team-high 17.8 points a game (fifth in the Big South) and adding 3.1 rebounds. He hit a league-record 125 three-pointers (4.2 per game), including a career-best nine in a win over Chowan, Dec. 19. He ranked third on CCU's all-time three-pointers chart with 210 in just 59 games (3.56 3p/g). His nine three pointers tied for the second-best performance in school history, while his seven three-pointers against Coker, Nov. 30, and St. Andrews, Jan. 3, tied for the fifth-best single games in Coastal history. He ranked second in the Big South with 4.1 assists per game and added 49 steals (sixth in the Big South) last year. For his play, Leasure was named the Big South Conference Player of the Year and the league's Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
In his freshman season, 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.
FROM DOWNTOWN...BANG!: Sophomore Jack Leasure continues to believe -- and proved last year -- that outside the three-point arc was his domain. In 30 games last season, the guard has hit 125 three-pointers, an average of 4.2 per game, and surpassed the former league record, set by Doug Day of Radford with 117 in 1991-92. The success from the arc shows in the NCAA Division I national rankings. In the final ranking, he finished second in the nation in three pointers per game and 15th in three-point field goal percentage at 42.9 percent.
As a team, Coastal was also among the nation's leaders in triples. The Chanticleers averaged 8.20 threes per game, which ranked them 19th in Division I.
INJURY REPORT FOR TONIGHT: For today's game against College of Charleston, all 15 players are available.
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 ninth year as "Voice of the Chanticleers". In addition, there will be Live Game Stats of all CCU home basketball games on the Internet.