Coastal Carolina’s Chris Gradnigo scored 11 of his game-high 19 points in the first half as the Chanticleers improved to 3-0 in the Big South Conference with a 55-52 win over High Point University on Saturday night at the Millis Center.
A three-point play from Xavier Martin pulled the Panthers within three points with 51 seconds remaining in the game. After each team turned the ball over, Kierre Greenwood made two free throws to push the Chanticleer lead to five with nine seconds left on the clock. A layup by Nick Barbour cut the lead to three with five second remaining. After Anthony Raffa missed the front end of a one-and-one, Corey Law missed a 30-foot 3-point attempt as time expired to give Coastal its 10th win of the year.
The Chanticleers pushed their lead to 15 points on a three-point play from Jon Pack with 17:14 left in the game but the Panthers went on a 14-0 run over the next 5:34 to cut the Coastal lead to one with 11:40 remaining in the game. Coastal was held without a basket for over six minutes before Sam McLaurin broke the scoring drought at the 10:46 mark to put the Chants up 38-35.
High Point was within one point again at then 7:24 mark on a basket from Law but Coastal extended its lead to eight with 5:00 minutes remaining. High Point held the Chanticleersl scoreless for three minutes before Gradnigo hit a baseline jumper to push the Chant lead to six.
Both teams struggled from the field as the Panthers were held to 17-of-47 (36.2%) shooting while Coastal finished 19-of-48 (39.6%) from the field.
After going 6:50 without a field goal in the first half the Chanticleers tied the game at 15 apiece with 5:32 remaining on a layup from Pack. Coastal finished the half on a 17-4 run to take a 30-19 lead at the break.
Head Coach Cliff Ellis tied Norm Sloan for 34th on the all-time Division I career wins list with 624. Coach Ellis is now 10 wins away from recording at least 100 wins with four different schools.
McLaurin grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds adding to his nine points and one blocked shot.
Raffa was held to single digit scoring for the first time in 21 consecutive games, totaling eight points on the night.
Greenwood added five assists, five rebounds and four points after being limited to 26 minutes due to foul trouble.
Coastal remains on the road for its second of three road games as they face Campbell on Monday, Jan. 2 in Buies Creek, N.C. Tip-off against the Camels is scheduled for 7:45 p.m.