CHANTICLEERS RETURN HOME TO WRAP UP 2004:Coastal Carolina's men's basketball team will return home to Kimbel Arena to wrap up 2004 with a home contest against Ohio Northern, Dec. 29. The Chanticleers sport a 2-2 mark at home this year, with wins over Coker and Jacksonville State and losses to Eastern Kentucky and UNC Wilmington.
SERIES HISTORY: This is the first-ever meeting between Coastal Carolina and Ohio Northern.
THE COACHES: Coastal Carolina Head Coach Pete Strickland (Pittsburgh, '79) is in his seventh season at the helm of the Chanticleers and holds a 62-116 overall coaching record. Last season, Coastal posted a 14-15 mark, including 8-8 in Big South Conference play.
Joe Campoli (Rhode Island, 62) is in his 13th and final season at Ohio Northern, with a 245-94 record as a head coach for the Polar Bears and overall. Last season, Ohio Northern was 19-8 overall and 12-6 in league play to tie for fourth in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
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 13.0 points per game and has hit on 45.0 percent (27-of-60) of his shots from beyond the three-point arc.
NATIONAL RANKINGS: Coastal has two players among the top 50 in the nation in their respective categories as of Dec. 20. Pele Paelay ranks 12th in steals at 3.2 per game, while Jack Leasure ranks 38th in three-point field goal percentage at 45.5 percent.
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 16.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.8 steals a game, with points and steals team highs.
AT YOUR LEASURE: Freshman Jack Leasure has been impressive on the offensive end of the floor in his first 10 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 13.0 points a game and hitting 45.0 percent (27-of-60) 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 five games, he has averaged 12.4 points and 5.2 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 six games. In that period, Stevens has averaged 10.7 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.
ANOTHER BATTLE WITH COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON:Coastal Carolina battled through most of the game, but came up on the short end of an 87-69 decision to host College of Charleston, Dec. 22 at John Kresse Arena in Charleston.
The game was tight in the opening minutes, as the teams exchanged several leads, along with seven ties in the first 11 minutes, the last at 25 apiece. Coastal eventually went up 27-25 on senior Clint Nagels jumper, but CofC went on an 8-0 run over next 2:32 to take a 33-27 lead with 4:51 to go in the half. Coastal cut it to three in the late stages of the half with just over a minute to go, but the Cougars Bernard Jackson scored the last five points of the half and sent CofC into the halftime lockerroom with a 42-34 lead.
Coastal shot 52 percent from the floor in the first half, but was outrebounded 21-14 by the Cougars and made just four of nine free throws. CCU was led by junior Pele Paelay with nine points in the half, while sophomore Moses Sonko added eight. Tony Mitchell led CofC in the first half with 14.
CCU cut the lead quickly in the second half, going on a 7-1 run in the first 2:03 to force a College of Charleston timeout with the Cougars leading 43-41. After subbing all five players for CofC, the home squad went on a 7-0 run of their own to push the lead back to 50-41 with 15:42 to play. After getting the lead down to 55-49 with 12:12 to play, CofC took over the game for good, going on a 17-2 run over the next 5:21, sparked by 10 from Stanley Jackson, to take a commanding 72-51 lead the home team would never relinquish.
Coastal shot45.6 percent for the contest, including hitting seven three-pointers, but the Chanticleers were outrebounded 48-28 in the game, including 17 offensive rebounds by CofC for 21 points. The Cougars hit on 48.5 percent for the game, including 51.6 percent in the second half.
Coastal was led by Sonko with 14 points, while Paelay and freshman Jack Leasure with 13 and 12 respectively. College of Charleston had six players in double figures on the night, led by Tony Mitchell with 16 points, 14 coming in the first half. Bernard Jackson had 15, while Dontaye Draper and Robert Swain made a difference in the second half, tallying their combined 21 points all in the final stanza.
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 five 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 6.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists a game. He is now sixth on CCU's all-time assists chart with 343, just seven 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 36.1 percent shooting.
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 at home in the holiday month and is coming off a 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 0-6 when trailing at halftime, with an average deficit of 10.5 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 6.8 points and a team-best 6.9 rebounds a game, having started all 10 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 probable for the Ohio Northern game after sitting out three games with an injury to his left leg and returning to the court at College of Charleston, while sophomore Adrian Gross is questionable with an abdominal injury.
CAREER HIGHS FOR GROSS: After only scoring two points all of 2003-04, sophomore Adrian Gross showed he will be a major part of the Coastal squad this season. He tallied career-bests of seven points and three rebounds Nov. 19 against Indiana State. He then surpassed the rebounding high with five rebounds at Evansville, Nov. 21. He then put it all together for his first career double-double with career-highs of 13 points and a team-high 11 rebounds at UNC Greensboro, Nov. 23.
VEGAS, BABY, VEGAS: Another player who is in his first season in a Coastal uniform is freshman Chad Ferguson. The North Las Vegas native had five points and five rebounds against the Sycamores, Nov. 19. He then surpassed it with nine points at UNC Greensboro, Nov. 23. For the season, he is averaging 3.3 points and 2.5 rebounds a game.
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.