Chants grab first-round bye with road win over Lancers

ccuhoops-0jCoastal Carolina scored 10 of the game’s final 16 points at the free-throw line to secure a 72-59 victory at Longwood in Big South men’s basketball action Monday evening at the Lancers’ Willett Hall.

The victory secured Coastal a bye in the first round of next week’s VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Basketball Championship, hosted on the Chanticleers’ home floor. Coastal (21-8, 12-5 Big South) has won four straight and six of its last seven contests.

Five Chants finished in double-figures as Coastal secured its 15th double-digit win of the season. Shivaughn Wiggins was the top scorer with 14 points, while Josh Cameron and Marcus Freeman each scored 13. Badou Diagne scored 11 points, while Elijah Wilson chipped in 10. Diagne was also the game’s leading rebounder with 12, marking his ninth double-double of the season.

Longwood (2-22, 4-13 Big South) was paced by Leon Fisher and Quincy Taylor with 15 points each. Both Fisher and Taylor made three 3-pointers as the Lancers made 10 for the contest. Darrion Allen was also hot from behind the arc for the home team with each of his nine points came via the three.

Coastal finished the game making 25 of its 49 shots for a 51.0 percentage. The Chants also made 40.0 percent (6-of-15) from three. CCU outrebounded the Lancers 40-29 and held a 30-18 advantage in points in the paint.

Coastal opened the second half with authority, using a 16-4 run over the initial 5:43 to take a 47-35 lead on the Lancers. Wiggins, Diagne and Wilson each sank 3-pointers during the run, while Cameron contributed the other four points on two mid-range jumpers.

Longwood’s Fisher slowed the Chants with a jumper at the 13:10 mark, but Coastal responded with two Freeman buckets in the paint and a Wiggins layup in transition to take a game-high lead of 16 points at 53-37 with 11:47 to play.

The Lancers would not go away, however, as Allen and Taylor each connected twice from 3-point range for part of a 14-7 run over the next 3:30 to cut Coastal’s lead to 60-51 with seven minutes to play. Longwood twice cut Coastal’s lead to seven points over the next 50 seconds, but the Chants answered with free throws by Gillis and Wiggins to restore their double-digit lead at 65-55 with 3:27 to go.

Jason Pimentel then made a jumper to cut CCU’s lead back to eight, but Coastal then scored the game’s next seven points at the free-throw line to secure the teams’ eighth road victory of the season.

Longwood led Coastal 14-13 with 9:13 to play in the first half, but the Chanticleers reeled off an 18-9 run to take a 31-23 lead and appeared to seize control of the game. However, Longwood clawed its way back into the game, ending the opening 20 minutes on an 8-0 run. Fisher made his second and third 3-pointers of the game in the final 1:08 of the half to tie the game 31-31.

Coastal shot 41.4 percent in the first half, but Longwood kept pace with the Chanticleers with its 3-point shooting. Four of Longwood’s first five made shots were from deep as the Lancers finished the opening 20 minutes with six made threes.

The Chanticleers close the 2014-15 regular season at Presbyterian College with a 7 p.m. tipoff on Thursday.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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