Little Rock's Buzzer Beater Downs Coastal
CONWAY - Coastal Carolina's attempt to hand Little Rock its first loss in Sun Belt play this season fell just short as Ronjanae DeGray hit a jumper with one second remaining to help the Trojans escape the HTC Center with 51-49 win Saturday afternoon.
A game that featured five ties and eight lead changes saw Coastal (11-10, 5-5) take a one point lead with 2:07 remaining following six unanswered points. That lead lasted until Keanna Keys made her way to line with 17 seconds remaining and hit the first shot for Little Rock (12-8, 9-0) to tie the game at 49-49. The second shot missed and went out of bounds off a Coastal player, giving the ball back to the Trojans with 15 seconds left. DeGray's jumper from the right side went through with one second left on the clock, not allowing the Chants a quality opportunity to attempt a last-second comeback.
Saturday's loss is just the fourth for the Chants at home, and marks the first time this season that Coastal has fallen in consecutive games at the HTC Center.
Keys led the Trojans in the winning effort with 14 points and five rebounds. DeGray (13 points) and Monique Townson (10 points) also finished in double figures.
For Coastal, Jas Adams tied Keys for the game high in scoring. Alise Davis provided 11 points, and Naheria Hamilton added 10. DJ Williams led all players with 11 rebounds and six assists, and scored nine points.
Each team made 19 baskets from the field, with Coastal shooting at a 48 percent clip to Little Rock's 35 percent. The two sides were also the same at the line, each making nine free throws. The Trojans held a 4-2 advantage in 3-pointers.
Coastal led 30-24 in paint points but turned the ball over 23 times, leading to 22 points for Little Rock.
Little Rock had a hot start, taking a 10-1 lead less than five minutes in and forcing Coastal to call an early timeout. The Chants responded well coming out of the break, scoring 11 unanswered points in two minutes to overtake the lead. Lasker ended Coastal's streak with a 3-pointer, and the teams traded baskets in the final minute to give the Trojans a slight 15-14 advantage after the first 10 minutes.
Coastal's momentum from the latter half of the first quarter did not carry over into the second quarter, as Little Rock built a nine-point cushion in six minutes of action using a 10-2 run. Adams responded with a three-point play, and added another point from the free-throw line just over a minute later. Keys scored four points for the Trojans in the final minutes, bringing her game-leading first-half total to 11 points and giving Little Rock a 29-22 lead as the teams headed to the locker rooms.
The third quarter was the inverse of the first two, as Coastal held momentum early before Little Rock took over later in the quarter. The Chants outscored the Trojans 12-5 over the first six minutes to force a tie. A pair of Williams free throws then gave Coastal its first lead since the opening quarter. That lead last less than a minute, however, as Little Rock scored eight straight points to go back in front by six. Alise Davis added a layup at the buzzer to cut the Chants' deficit to four going into the fourth quarter.
Little Rock hit a pair of free throws to open the fourth, and the Chanticleer defense held the Trojans to just one field goal through the first nine minutes. Little Rock finished 2-of-11 in the final frame, but made three of its four attempts at the line. The Chants, meanwhile, strung together a 9-2 run to overtake the lead. Hamilton, who scored four points during that stretch, provided the Chants' final basket of the game at the 2:07 mark, which gave Coastal its lead before DeGray's winning shot.
Coastal begins its Texas swing on Thursday when the Chants take on Texas State in San Marcos. Opening tip against the Bobcats is set for 5:30 p.m. (CT). Coastal defeated Texas State 65-64 on Dec. 31 at the HTC Center in the opening weekend of the Sun Belt schedule.