CHANTICLEERS TAKE A QUICK TRIP TO CHARLESTON:Coastal Carolina's men's basketball team plays its only road game during the month of December tonight, as the Chanticleers travel to Charleston to take on the College of Charleston. Coastal comes in off a heartbreaking 64-61 loss to UNC Wilmington, Dec. 18, while the Cougars have been off since defeating the same Seahawks on a last-second three-pointer, 59-57, Dec. 16.
SERIES HISTORY: This is the 40th meeting between the Chants and CofC, with the Cougars holding a commanding 29-10 advantage. Coastal has only won once in 19 meetings in Charleston, that 97-87 victory occurring during the 1976-77 season, with CCU's current women's coach Alan LeForce as the CofC head coach during that time. CCU's last victory in the series came during the 1992-93 season, as CCU won a thrilling 58-57 decision at Kimbel Arena. Entering tonight's game, CCU has dropped the last seven meetings overall to the College of Charleston and the last 16 meetings in Charleston between the two programs.
THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Pete Strickland (Pittsburgh, '79) is in his seventh season at the helm of the Chanticleers and holds a 62-115 overall coaching record. Last season, Coastal posted a 14-15 mark, including 8-8 in Big South Conference play.
Tom Herrion (Merrimack College, 89) is in his fourth season at College of Charleston, with a 49-21 record as a head coach for the Cougars and overall. Last season, CofC was 20-9 overall and 11-5 in league play to tie for first in the Southern Conference's South Division.
IT IS A "LEASURE-FILLED" AWARD: Coastal's Jack Leasure (Rochester, N.Y./McQuaid Jesuit) was named the Big South Conference/New Balance Men's Basketball Freshman of the Week, Dec. 20. This is the first honor during the 2004-05 campaign for a Coastal player and the first-ever college honor for Leasure.
The freshman guard tallied 13 points for Coastal, including three three-point field goals against UNC Wilmington last week, in tying for the team scoring lead against the Seahawks. He also had a career-high five assists in Coastals home win over Jacksonville State. For the week, Leasure averaged 8.5 points, 1.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. For the season, Leasure is second on the team in scoring at 13.1 points per game and has hit on 45.5 percent (25-of-55) of his shots from beyond the three-point arc.
PAELAY GETS IT DONE: Junior Pele Paelay has made things happen offensively for Coastal this 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 also added a career-high six steals after posting a then career-high five steals in the season opener against Indiana State Nov. 19. He followed up those performances with 22 points and 11 rebounds at UNC Greensboro, Nov. 23. Most recently, Paelay had 14 points, two rebounds, four assists and two steals in the home in over Jacksonville State, Dec. 15. For the season, Paelay is now averaging 16.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.3 steals a game, all team highs.
NATIONAL RANKINGS: Coastal has two players among the top 50 in the nation in their respective categories as of Dec. 13. Pele Paelay ranks ninth in steals at 3.6 per game, while Jack Leasure ranks 28th in three-point field goal percentage at 50.0 percent and 32nd in three-pointers made with 3.1 per game.
AT YOUR LEASURE: Freshman Jack Leasure has been impressive on the offensive end of the floor in his first seven collegiate games. 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. He added 15 points, including three triples at UNC Greensboro, Nov. 23. Leasure then had a career high 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting against Hawaii Nov. 26. He recently scored 17 points on 7-of-10 from the field and 3-for-5 from the three-point arc against Coker, Dec. 12. He is now averaging 13.1 points a game and hitting 45.5 percent (25-of-55) from the three-point arc.
MOSES DOING HIS "PART" FOR THE TEAM: Sophomore Moses Sonko has started to look like the player CCU fans saw last year. After earning Big South All-Freshman team honors in 2003-04, Sonko had an early season injury that only recently he has gotten over. It showed again versus Jacksonville State, Dec. 14, as Sonko tied career-highs with 21 points and nine rebounds in the victory. In the last four games, he has averaged 12.0 points and 5.5 rebounds a game.
NOT MAKING IT EVEN "STEVENS" BUT GETTING AHEAD: That's just what junior Colin Stevens has been doing for the Chanticleers in the last five games. In that period, Stevens has averaged 12.8 points a game on 64.3 percent (18-for-28) shooting from the floor and 10-for-16 (62.5 percent) from the three-point arc. In addition, he leads Coastal in free throw shooting at 83.3 percent (20-for-24) from the charity stripe . He has teamed with senior Alvin Green to give CCU a quicker lineup on the floor, and the effects showed against Jacksonville State, Dec. 15. Stevens tallied 16 points and five assists and combined with Green for 37 points in the victory.
CLOSE CALLS A REGULAR FOR CCU: In the last 15 games of the 2002-03 season, Coastal was in 12 nailbiters. In those 12 games, the combined margin was 48 points, with no game decided by more than seven points. In games decided by seven or less points, Coastal was 5-9. In 2003-04, CCU was 7-10 in games decided by nine or less. Interestingly, 11 of CCU's 16 Big South contests were decided by nine points or less, with Coastal holding just a 4-7 mark in those games.
This season, Coastal has played four games that have been decided by nine points or less, going 0-5 with the closest a three-point loss to UNC Wilmington, Dec. 18.
NICE TO SEE GREEN AGAIN: Senior guard Alvin Green returned to the Coastal Carolina lineup in 2003-04 after missing most of the previous season with a foot injury. Even though he missed almost three games with a sprained ankle in last year, he still averaged 7.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists a contest, but has upped his average to 8.2 points per game in Big South play. He ranked second in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio and was sixth in assists.
This year, Green has overcome preseason surgery to his shooting hand and recently has started to show the confidence again in his game. In the win over Jacksonville State, Dec. 15, Green made his second start of the season and scored a season-high 20 points and added seven rebounds and seven assists in the victory. He has upped his averages to 5.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists a game. He is now sixth on CCU's all-time assists chart with 340, just 10 shy of Greg Smith (1994-98) in fifth.
HITTING FROM LONG RANGE: Coastal hit early and often from long range in the 2003-04 season. The Chanticleers hit on 37.6 percent and 6.7 per game from the three-point arc this season. That mark includes knocking down 11 three-pointers in the game against Yale, Nov. 23, and matching it with 11 at East Carolina, Nov. 29. Those two marks tied the most triples hit since Coastal drained 16 against High Point, Feb. 9, 2002.
This season, Coastal has knocked down an average of 7.0 three pointers a game on 36.2 percent shooting.
LAST SEASON'S THRILLER IN KIMBEL BUT NOT FOR CCU: The Coastal Carolina mens basketball team fought back throughout the second half, but came up short after a controversial call with 0.6 seconds to play left the Chanticleers with a 73-72 home opening loss to the College of Charleston, Dec. 6, 2003.
Coastal jumped out to a 9-2 lead early, but the first half was a back-and-forth battle, as neither team could build a substantial lead. The Cougars made a late run in the half and headed into the intermission with a 41-36 halftime margin.
College of Charleston continued the late momentum in opening the second half, building the lead quickly to double digits and as large as 14 at 62-48 with 8:22 to play. Coastal Carolina got on a roll in the late going, cutting the lead down to four points when CCUs Clint Reed was ejected from the game with 4:46 to play on a flagrant technical. Coastal fell back behind by seven after the three-pointer for CofC, but continued to battle, tying the game at 70 in the late minutes. Brandon Newbys layup with 20 seconds gave the Chants a 72-71 lead, but Thomas Mobley sank a pair of free throws with eight seconds to play to put the Cougars up one. Then came the most dramatic moment, as Newby drove just outside the left side of the lane and banked in a layup with 0.6 seconds left that appeared to give CCU the win. However, a controversial charging call wiped out the basket and gave the win to the visiting Cougars.
Senior guard E.J. Gallup led all scorers with a career-high 30 points, including five three-pointers. Newby was the only other Chanticleer in double figures with 15 points. College of Charleston was led by Mike Benton with 20 points and 10 rebounds for his double-double. Three other Cougars scored in double figures, led by Tony Mitchell with 15.
A HEARTBREAKER AGAINST UNC WILMINGTON: UNC Wilmington snapped Coastal Carolinas two-game winning streak, 64-61, Dec. 18 at Kimbel Arena.
The game was a see-saw battle in the early going, as there were four ties and four lead changes in the first half. Junior Colin Stevens hit a three-pointer to put Coastal up one at 23-22 with 5:15 to play in the first half and give the Chants their last lead of the game. UNCW then answered with a 9-1 run over the next four minutes to lead by seven, 31-24, with 1:04 to play in the first. Senior Alvin Green drained a three-pointer with just three seconds to cut the lead to 31-27 going into the lockerroom. Green was the star of the first half for CCU, netting 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting from the floor and a perfect 2-for-2 from three-point land.
The Seahawks led by double-digits throughout most of the second half, building the margin to as many as 12. With the score 57-46 UNCW with 4:58 to play, the Chants started their comeback on a three-pointer by freshman Jack Leasure. Coastal got it down to one at 57-56 with 2:28 to go, but T.J. Carters three-pointer pushed the lead back to four with 1:15 to play. A free throw by Taylor Lay made it 61-56 with 38 seconds to go, but Coastal didnt give up and got it to one at 62-61 with 14 seconds left on senior Clint Nagels conventional three-point play. After a dunk by Carter with nine seconds left, Green put up a desperation three with no time remaining that fell short.
The boards were a key in this game, as the Seahawks out rebounded the Chants 37-21. Another difference was the free-throw line, as UNCW was 15-for-22, while Coastal was just 12-for-20. Leasure and Stevens led Coastal with 13 points each. Stevens finished the day 4-for-6 from the floor and 3-for-4 from the three-point arc. UNCW was led by Carter and John Goldsberry, who each poured in 15, while Taylor Lay chipped in 14.
NOT JUST FOR ONE BUT FOR SEVERAL: Coastal is spending much of the month of December at home, as the Chanticleers play five home games at Kimbel Arena in December. CCU's only venture away from home will be a contest at the College of Charleston, Dec. 22. So far, CCU is 2-2 in the holiday month and is coming off an 64-61 loss to UNC Wilmington, Dec. 18.
KIMBEL HAS ITS ADVANTAGES: Coastal Carolina's Kimbel Arena may seat just over 1,000 fans, but it has been large for the Chanticleers the last 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 dropped to 2-2 in 2004-05 with its loss to UNC Wilmington, Dec. 18.
SOME KEY ITEMS FOR COASTAL'S VICTORIES: Several trends developed in regards to Coastal winning during the 2003-04 season. CCU was 13-4 when leading at halftime and 10-2 when leading with five minutes to play in the game. The Chants were 7-3 when they hit 45 percent or better from the field, 10-6 when hitting 70 percent or better from the free throw line and 8-1 when they got to the free throw line more than their opponent. Also, Coastal Carolina 9-2 when holding the opponent to less than 70 points and 8-4 when forcing 15 or more opponent turnovers. Conversely, when CCU trailed at halftime, it was 0-10 last year. That trend has continued this season, as the Chanticleers are 0-5 when trailing at halftime, with an average deficit of 11.0 points at the intermission in those games they trail at the half.
NOTHING LIKE A NAGEL TO GET YOU GOING: Senior Clint Nagel was a significant part of the success in 2003-04 and looks to do it again this year. Last season, Nagel averaged 4.2 points and 5.4 rebounds, which ranked 10th in Big South only games. Nagel posted his first career double-double at VMI, Feb. 14 with career-bests of 10 points and 10 rebounds against the Keydets. Overall last season, Nagel led CCU and ranked 16th in the Big South in rebounding at 4.3 boards per game.
This season, Nagel has improved on both ends of the floor, averaging 6.4 points and 6.8 rebounds a game, having started all nine contests.
TWO SENIORS SERVE AS CO-CAPTAINS: Coastal Carolina has a pair of seniors as co-captains for the 2004-05 season in guard Alvin Green and forward Clint Nagel. Green started 24 of 27 games he played in last year and is the leading returning scorer at 7.1 points per game. Nagel played in all 29 contests last year for Coastal, starting 17 of them and averaging 3.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
GETTING BACK-TO-BACK WINS WITH VICTORY OVER JSU: Coastal Carolina made it back-to-back victories with a 88-78 victory over Jacksonville State at CCUs Kimbel Arena, Dec. 15.
Coastal jumped out early on the visiting Gamecocks, opening the game with a 22-4 run in just over nine minutes. Sparked by junior Pele Paelays eight points, CCU had an 20-point lead at 26-6 with 8:24 to go. JSU went on a 12-2 run of their own to cut the lead to 10 at 28-18 with 5:50 to go in the first half. However, senior Alvin Greens three-pointer stemmed the tide, and the Chanticleers went into the halftime lockerroom with a 42-33 advantage. Green led the Coastal effort with 11 in the opening half, as the Chanticleers shot 58.6 percent from the field, including knocking down 4-of-6 from the three-point arc. CCUs defense made a difference also, limiting Jacksonville State to 39.3 percent from the field, including shutting out JSUs leading scorer, Walker Russell, in the half.
Jacksonville State cut into CCUs lead early in the second half, getting to within seven on two occasions, the last at 45-38 with 17:36 to play. But the Chants would have the answer every time, pushing the lead to as many as 16 with just over eight minutes to go in the game. CCUs lead only dipped under double figures one other time in the late going, as the Chants salted the game away by knocking down 17-of-23 free throws in the second half.
Coastal hit at a stellar 57.4 percent clip from the field, including 5-for-11 from three-point range. The Chanticleers converted 15 JSU turnovers into 20 points. The Gamecocks hit 61.5 percent from the field in the second half to finish the game at 50 percent, but were outrebounded by CCU 32-27.
Coastal sophomore Moses Sonko tied his career best with game-highs of 21 points and nine rebounds, while Green added 20, seven rebounds and seven assists. Junior Colin Stevens had 16 points, while Paelay chipped in 14. Jacksonville State was led by B.J. Spencer with 25 points, while Dorien Brown added 17. Russell finished with 12 points and nine assists, with all scoring in the second half and most of that after the game was decided.
INJURY UPDATE: Freshman Noah Nichols is probably for the College of Charleston game after sitting out three games with an injury to his left leg, while sophomore Adrian Gross is still out with an abdominal injury.
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.