Chants get shot at revenge at Big South-leading UNCA

Coastal Carolina gets its first shot at the team that crushed its dream of a Big South Conference tournament championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance last year.

The Chanticleers (13-4 overall, 6-1 Big South) travel to UNC Asheville (12-6, 6-0) looking for a small measure of revenge against the Bulldogs, who currently lead the Big South standings by a game over Coastal, so first place is on the line when they tip off Tuesday night.

After dropping consecutive games against East Carolina and College of Charleston, Coastal has won four out of its last five. The Chants have been getting it done with precise shooting, persistent rebounding and a pesky defense.

Through games played Sunday, Coastal ranked seventh nationally in field goal percentage (49.8%) and eighth in rebounding margin (+8.5) in the NCAA. The Chants have still not allowed a team to shoot 50 percent or better through 17 games.

Coastal’s Sam McLaurin is one block away from setting the CCU career blocked shot record. He currently has 142 blocked shots which ties for first with Joseph Harris. Anthony Raffa is 42 points from totaling 1,000 in his career.

The Bulldogs started the year 6-6 but have since won six straight games pushing their record to 12-6 while remaining undefeated in the Big South. UNC Asheville looks to go 8-0 in the league for the first time since the 1997-98 season.

Opponents in UNC Asheville’s six losses have combined to go 70-35 (.667) through Sunday’s games. Against High Point on Saturday, Asheville had six players combine for 86 points, all scoring in double digits on 62.5% shooting from the field.

The Bulldogs feature a backcourt led by Matt Dickey (16.1 ppg/65 assists) and J.P. Primm (14.2 ppg/77 assists)who were preseason all-conference selections. The frontcourt is led Chris Stephenson and Jeremy Atkinson, who combine for 12.5 rebounds and 25.4 points per game.

Coastal won the last game played in Asheville 80-59, holding Asheville to 35.8% shooting and topping the Bulldogs on the boards, 41-29. Asheville went 2-0 in Kimbel Arena last year, including a 60-47 win in the Big South Championship game where Coastal shot only 34.0% and 3-of-16 (18.8%) from beyond the arc.

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