Chants win seventh straight at home over Highlanders

The Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team extended its home streak to seven games inside The HTC Center with a 62-52 near wire-to-wire victory over Radford. The Highlanders took a quick 3-0 lead early in the first half but the Chants answered with nine-straight and never trailed the rest of the way.

Coastal improves its record to 10-10 with a 5-4 mark in Big South play. The Highlanders fall to 10-13 and 4-5 in BSC action.

CCU struggled most of the night at the free-throw line hitting just 35.7 percent in the first half but with the game on the line late the Chants hit 7-of-8 free throws down the stretch and finished shooting 58.1 percent from the line in the game.

The Chants were without junior center and leading rebounder El Hadji Ndieguene but a pair of freshmen and one sophomore stepped in to carry the load. Freshman Michel Enanga ended the game with 11 rebounds including grabbing nine in the first half while freshman Badou Diagne and sophomore Warren Gillis each had eight. The Chants outrebounded the Highlanders 43-39 and outscored RU 28-18 in the paint.

Senior Anthony Raffa led the way in scoring with 22 points. Fellow senior Kierre Greenwood finished with 15 points and four assists. The four assists gave Greenwood 450 for his career and he became just the 15th player in Big South history to reach that mark.

Gillis ended the day with eight points to go along with his eight rebounds while Enanga ended the game with a career-high three blocks.

RU was led by Javonte Green who had 12 points and five rebounds. Jalen Carethers led the way on the boards with eight rebounds while R.J. Price and Ya Ya Anderson each chipped in nine points.

The Chants shot just 38.5 percent from the field while hitting 36.4 percent of their shots from three. The Highlanders shot 28.6 percent from the field and hit just 21.7 percent from downtown.

After the Highlanders opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, the Chants answered with nine-straight points including five from Greenwood. Another three from RU cut the lead to six but Coastal once again responded with a 9-0 run this time powered by four points from Diagne. The Highlanders were able to cut the lead to as little as five with 2:18 to play in the first but a free throw by Gillis with 51 seconds left gave CCU a 26-20 halftime edge.

Raffa opened the second half with a 5-0 run of his own to push CCU’s lead to 11. The lead would grow to as much as 12 but a 14-4 run by the Highlanders including eight from Lucas Dyer cut the Chants’ lead to just two with 6:33 to play. Gillis ended the scoring drought for the Chants with a three that happened to also be Greenwood’s 450th assist. The three was the start of a 5-0 run by Gillis to give CCU a seven-point lead with 5:03 to play. The Highlanders were able to cut the lead to four with 1:19 left in the game but tough defense by the Chants and steady shooting at the free-throw line carried CCU to victory.

The Chants return to action this Wednesday at 7 p.m. as they host Charleston Southern University who is 7-1 in Big South play and leads the South Division. The Highlanders get back to action on Tuesday as they travel to Liberty University.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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