RICHMOND, KY The Coastal Carolina mens basketball team battled in a hard-fought game but came up short in a 60-51 loss at Eastern Kentucky, Dec. 30. With their 16th consecutive non-conference road loss, the Chanticleers fall to 5-5, while the Colonels advance to 5-6.
Coastal got off to a good start, as guard Pele Paelay grabbed the opening tip and knocked down a three-pointer for a 3-0 CCU lead just six seconds in. The Chanticleers eventually built that into a 13-6 lead just 4:26 into the contest. However, EKU had an answer for that, going on a 13-4 run that gave the Colonels a 22-17 lead with 7:59 to go in the first half. After the teams traded baskets to make it 27-22 EKU, the Chants played solid defense down the last 3:50 of the half, shutting out the host and entering the halftime lockerroom with a 28-27 advantage.
Coastal hit on just 37.5 percent (12-for-32) of its shots from the floor in the first half, but limited EKU to just 34.8 percent (8-for-23). The Chanticleers held a 21-15 advantage on the board, including 10 offensive rebounds. CCU also got 14 bench points and outscored the hosts 14-6 in the paint.
Paelay led Coastal with seven points, as seven CCU players got in the scoring column, four of them with four or more. EKU was led by guard Matt Witt with 11 points, including a pair of triples.
The two teams exchanged five leads and had five ties in the second half, as the game continued to be a battle. With the score knotted at 44 with 6:24 to play, EKU took the lead for good on a 7-0 run, capped off by Jason McLeish's three-pointer to put the Colonels up 51-44 with just over three minutes to play. A conventional three-point play by forward Moses Sonko cut the game to four, but that was as close as Coastal would get down the stretch.
The Chants shot just 35.1 percent (20-for-57) for the game while holding the Colonels down to just 36.7 percent (18-for-49). CCU outrebounded EKU 41-30, but the difference was turnovers, as Coastal committed 19 miscues, 14 in the second half, and Eastern Kentucky turned those into 24 points. EKU also was 18-for-23 from the free throw line, while Coastal was just 6-for-7.
Paelay led CCU with 12 points and six rebounds, while guard Jack Leasure was the only other Coastal player in double figures with 10 points. EKU was led by Witt with a game-high 24, with McLeish adding 10.
Coastal returns home to Kimbel Arena for its final non-conference game of the 2005-06 campaign, hosting St. Andrews, Tue. Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. The game is part of a doubleheader, as CCU's women's squad hosts Coker at 5 p.m.