GEORGIASTATE AT THE CONVENTION CENTER: Coastal Carolina will return to play at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center for the second straight year when it hosts Georgia State, Sat. 22. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., moved back to accommodate the finals of the Holiday Classic.
RICHARDSON STEPPING UP: Senior guard Everage Richardson has stepped up his game on the offensive end of the floor over the last five contests. After averaging just 7.0 points a game in the first four this season, Richardson has average 13.4 points a contest the last five, including scoring in double figures in four of the five games. He posted a career-best 19 points in the meeting with UNC Wilmington, Dec. 9.JUST A BIT OUTSIDE AT UNC WILMINGTON: The Chanticleers played their second game in less than 48 hours and came up on the short end of an 80-68 decision at UNC Wilmington, Dec. 9. In the first of a home-and-home series this year, the host Seahawks got off to hot starts in both halves only to see Coastal come back and take the lead in each. After CCU put together a four-point lead in the second half, a missed dunk sparked a fast-break three-pointer, UNCW re-took the lead at 61-59. From that point on, Coastal was outscored 19-9 over the final seven minutes. Senior guard Everage Richardson led Coastal with a career-high 19 points in the game. (Box score available on page 8.) BENCH PRODUCTION AN ASSET: For Coastal, getting some scoring punch from its bench has been a big help in the early going. In three of the four wins, Coastal's bench has tallied at least 24 points in each of them and averaged 25.3 points a contest, with a season high of 37 against Anderson, Nov. 21. In three of the five losses, CCU has gotten just 14 (Canisius), 15 (Houston) and 16 (Wright State) points from its players coming off the bench, while getting 29 in the loss at Cincinnati and 32 at UNCW, an average of just 21.2 points a game. SHOT SELECTION (AND SHOTS OVERALL) A DIFFERENCE EARLY ON: For Coastal this year, it is easy to see where the differences are. In its four home wins, the Chanticleers have taken 232 shots (58.0 avg), as compared to 275 (55.0 avg) on the road, and hit 51.3 percent (119-of-232) in Kimbel Arena, while just shooting 43.6 percent (120-of-275) in road venues. The squad is 37-of-82 (45.1 percent) from the arc in its four home wins while just 35-of-97 (36.1 percent) from the three-point line in the five road losses. It is even worse at the free throw line, as CCU has hit 51-of-80 charity attempts (63.8 percent) at home but is a dismal 41-of-74 (55.4 percent) from the stripe on the road. FORCING THE ACTION: One other stat that jumps out in comparing wins and losses so far happens when CCU forces opponent miscues. At home, the Chants forced 77 turnovers (19.3 tpg) in its first four games, but only caused 62 (12.4 tpg) in the five road losses. WINNING THE BOARD BATTLE FINALLY: After losing the battle on the glass in the first four games, Coastal outrebounded their first opponent in the win over Anderson, Nov. 21. In the game, CCU trailed in the board column by five at the halftime break, 21-16, but dominated in the second half to finish ahead by seven, 41-34. Of Anderson's 18 offensive rebounds, the Chants limited them to just nine second-chance points, while getting 12 second chance points on their 16 offensive caroms. Recently, Coastal had its best effort on the glass, having a nine-board advantage (42-33) in the home win over Presbyterian, Dec. 7 and a four-rebound margin (35-31) at UNCW, Dec. 9. MOVING UP THE SCORING RANKS: With his two free throws in the closing seconds of the win over Wright State, Nov. 19, 2006, senior Jack Leasure became the 14th member of CCU’s 1000-Point Club, accomplishing the feat in just two years and three games. He currently ranks fourth on Coastal's all-time scoring chart and 16th on the Big South list with 1,578 points, having recently passed Derek Wilson (1986-89) at 1,492. Tony Whittington (1980-83) is in third at 1,599 and KeKe Hicks (1993-95) in second at 1,622 is also within range. LEASURE THE KING OF DOWNTOWN: The three-point arc has been the domain of senior guard Jack Leasure since his arrival at Coastal for the 2004-05 season and that legend grew to new heights last season. In the win over VMI, Feb. 3, 2007, Leasure hit seven threes (the second highest total in his career and fifth best in school history) and became the Coastal career three-pointer leader. Leasure surpassed KeKe Hicks (1993-95) with 275 triples and now has 334 three-pointers in his three-plus years, moving up to second and passing Scott Hartzell (1992-96) of UNC Greensboro with 309. He now only trails Doug Day (1989-93) of Radford with 401. LEASURE NAMED TO LOWE'S SENIOR CLASS AWARD CANDIDATE LIST: Senior guard Jack Leasure has been named an official candidate for the 2007-08 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, the first male ever named to the list for Coastal Carolina and the only men's player on the list from the Big South Conference. The nation’s top 30 senior male and female college basketball players who exemplify a total student-athlete were announced as the official candidates for the 2007-08 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. The award – presented annually to the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete of the Year in eight sports – focuses on the “Four C’s” of classroom, character, community and competition. Lowe’s, an official corporate partner of the NCAA will award the winners with trophies during the respective men’s and women’s NCAA Final Four weekends. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the award was launched during the 2001-02 season to honor the attributes of college basketball seniors who remain committed to their university and pursue the many rewards that a senior season and complete college education brings. Now in its seventh year for basketball, the award has developed into the nation’s premier tribute for college seniors. Since originating with basketball, Lowe’s has expanded the award to include a total of eight NCAA sports, of which CCU women's soccer player Ashleigh Gunning was on this year's top-30 list. From the list of 30 nominees for each gender, a national media committee will select 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in January 2008. Those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote during the NCAA Tournament in March. Fan balloting will be coupled with votes from coaches and media to determine the male and female recipients. LEASURE LEADING THE CHANTS: Senior Jack Leasure started off his final season as a Chanticleer with a bang - or several of them from downtown. In the season opener against North Greenville, Nov. 9, Leasure tallied a career-high 34 points, hitting 13-of-20 shots from the field and 8-for-13 of his attempts from the three-point arc. He also added three rebounds, five assists and three steals in the 95-75 victory at Kimbel Arena. The eight three pointers tie for the third most in school history, with the 34 points tying for the 10th-highest single-season mark. Leasure followed it with 33 points in the win over Campbell, Nov. 13. That night, he was 9-of-12 from the floor and 6-of-9 behind the three-point line and 9-of-10 from the charity stripe. He also chipped in three rebounds, five assists and one steal in the victory. Currently, the senior leads Coastal and ranks fourth in the league at 17.1 points per game while hitting on 51.5 percent (52-of-101) of his shots from the floor (sixth in the league) and a league-best 51.5 percent (34-of-66) of his attempts from the three-point arc. RICHARDSON STARTS ON THE RIGHT FOOT: Senior guard Everage Richardson got going on the right foot, making an impact coming off the bench. In the opener against North Greenville, Nov. 9, Richardson tallied a career-high tying 16 points, going 7-of-9 from the field, along with grabbing six boards, a new career best. He followed it up with 12 points and four rebounds in the home victory over Campbell, Nov. 13. Richardson put together a career best in his effort against Anderson, Nov. 21, posting career-highs of 17 points, going 8-for-14 from the field, and four steals, while also chipping in two assists and his first blocked shot at Coastal. He then surpassed it at UNC Wilmington, Dec. 9, tallying a career-best 19 points to lead Coastal's effort. Richardson is now third on the team at 10.6 points per game (24th in the league) on 48.8 percent (41-of-84) shooting from the field, while also chipping in 3.3 rebounds and 1.8 steals per contest. HARRIS OUT FOR THE YEAR WITH THUMB INJURY: Junior Joseph Harris is out for the year with a torn ligament in his left thumb. He suffered the injury in the second half of the UNC Wilmington game, Dec. 9, but finished the game. He will have surgery on the thumb later this week and, due to new NCAA rules on medical redshirts, will be eligible to be medically redshirted and retain two years of eligibility, starting next season. Harris was again asserting himself in rebounding, currently leading Coastal and ranking fifth in the conference at 7.9 rebounds a game, while chipping in 8.3 points per contest. He also has 13 blocked shots on the year, ranking fourth in the league at 1.6 blocks a game. He entered this season with nine career double-doubles (seven in 2006-07), and made it 10 after a recent outing of then season bests of 16 points and 10 rebounds at Houston, Nov. 26, and then followed it up in the next game with 14 points and a season-high 14 rebounds in the win over Presbyterian, Dec. 7, for his 11th career double-double. He also added career-highs of four blocks and six steals in the win over the Blue Hose. He had a career-best and team season-best 31 points to go with 11 boards at VMI last year, the most points tallied by a CCU player during the 2006-07 season. He led the team (for the second straight year -- his first two at CCU) and was fifth in the Big South at 7.7 boards per contest and ranked fourth the squad at 8.2 points per game. He improved the scoring average in league play with 9.1 points in 14 conference games. He at least shared for team-high honors in rebounding in 20 of the 30 Coastal games last year. FEELING THE BREEZE BLOW: Freshman Anthony Breeze made sure he was felt in the game at Cincinnati, Nov. 16. The Greenville, S.C. native came off the bench and led Coastal with a season-best 25 points, including going 9-of-9 from the field and 7-of-13 from the free throw line. He added five rebounds in his 23 minutes of play. The 25 points was the most by a Coastal freshman since current senior Jack Leasure scored 25 points at Winthrop in the 2005 Advance Auto Parts Big South Conference Quarterfinals. Breeze got his first collegiate start against Anderson, Nov. 21, and responded with 15 points, four boards and two blocked shots. He was impressive shooting, going 6-for-9 from the floor, including one monster dunk with an AU player hanging on his arms, and was also 3-of-3 from the charity stripe. Currently, Breeze is second on the team in scoring (20th in Big South) at 11.7 points per game and in rebounds at 5.2 boards a contest (12th in the league) while playing 21.7 minutes a game. SEXTON IN THE LINEUP: Junior guard Steven Sexton has made his way into the starting lineup this year and has made the most of it in his first eight starts. He already set a new career best with six assists in the win over North Greenville, Nov. 9 and scored in double figures in back-to-back games for first time in his career (13 vs. NGU, 12 vs. Campbell). His most recent outing at Houston, Nov. 26, resulted in a season-high 15 points (just one of his career best), including 3-of-6 shooting from the three-point line. Sexton is averaging 7.6 points and 1.9 assists per game while connecting on 36.4 percent of his shots from the three-point line. ON THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: As of Dec. 16 as a team, Coastal ranks in the top 70 of three categories in NCAA Division I basketball. CCU is 40th in three-point field-goal percentage at 40.2 percent, 57th in assists with 16.0 per contest and 63rd in three-point field goals per game (8.0). Individually, senior guard Jack Leasure ranks among the top 100 individuals in two areas. Leasure is 11th in three-point percentage (51.5 percent) and 12th in three-pointers per game (3.8). LEADING THE WAY: Leaders often do the little things that don't show up in the stats. However with senior Jack Leasure and junior Joseph Harris, when they show up as leaders in the stats, in normally means good things for the Chanticleers. Over the last 67 games, Leasure has led Coastal in scoring on 29 occasions, posting a 22-7 mark. Harris has led the Chants on the glass in 34 of those contests, with CCU having an 20-14 mark in those games as well. J-MONEY: Senior Jack Leasure has been clutch from the three-point line in the past, but his most notable performance comes from the free-throw line in his career. Leasure is an impressive 162-for-197 (82.2 percent) in his three-plus years thus far. That is currently the second-best career free throw percentage in Coastal history. BACK-TO-BACK FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A LONG TIME: Senior guard Jack Leasure has opened the scoring in style, posting the first back-to-back 30-point games since 1994-95, when guard KeKe Hicks scored 33 against Towson State (1-14-95) and 36 against Maryland-Baltimore County (1-16-95). In fact, Hicks did it twice that season, tallying 40 at #22 Georgia Tech (11-28-94) and 32 against Charlotte (12-1-94) earlier in the year. LEASURE GETTING BACK IN HIS ZONE: After ending the 2005-06 season ranked second in the nation in three-pointers at 4.2 per game, senior Jack Leasure returned to play solid and earn Second Team All-Big South honors last year as a junior. Leasure had his best game of the season in the win over VMI, Feb. 3, as the guard scored a season-high 28 points, including going 7-for-13 from the three-point arc, and adding six rebounds and six assists. He led the team and ranked eighth in the league in scoring at 15.6 points per game. He was also fourth in three-point field goal percentage (.372), third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.83), second in three pointers made (3.00/g) and ninth in assists (3.60/g). Leasure has also ranked among the top 30 in the nation in three-point field goals made in each of his three seasons. BREEZE NAMED BIG SOUTH FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: CCU freshman Anthony Breeze received New Balance Freshman of the Week honors for games played Nov. 12-18, it was announced by the League office. Breeze averaged 16.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and was 12-of-14 from the field in two games last week for the Chanticleers. At Cincinnati, Breeze went 9-of-9 from the floor and finished with a career-high 25 points, the most by a CCU freshman since 2003-04 when Jack Leasure did it against Winthrop in the 2004 Big South Quarterfinals. He also grabbed five rebounds against the Bearcats. Earlier in the week in Coastal’s victory over Campbell, Breeze scored eight points, grabbed six rebounds and tallied two assists. NON-CONFERENCE ROAD STRUGGLES CONTINUE: Coastal Carolina can't quite get over the top on the road in non-conference play. The Chanticleers haven't won a non-conference road tilt since Nov. 22, 2003 at Marist, defeating the host Red Foxes, 74-70, in the opening game of the season and opening round of the Marist Classic. Since then, CCU has had 26 straight non-conference road losses. THE PRESEASON POLL HAD CCU IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK: Coastal Carolina was picked to finish fourth in the Big South Conference this season by the league's head coaches, sports information directors and selected media, as announced at the 2007 Big South Basketball Media Days in Concord, N.C. High Point was a slim favorite to take home the crown over two-time defending champion Winthrop with VMI picked third. Rounding out the poll was UNC Asheville, Liberty, Charleston Southern and Radford. However, much is unknown in the league due to coaching changes. Of the eight schools in the league, four of them (Coastal - Cliff Ellis, Winthrop - Randy Peele, Liberty - Ritchie McKay and Radford - Brad Greenberg) have new head coaches this season. 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 11th year as "Voice of the Chanticleers". In addition, there will be Live Game Stats of all CCU home basketball games on the Internet, as well as Live Video Streaming of all home basketball games available for purchase on "The Edge" on www.bigsouthsports.com.