Chants headed West to take on No. 1-seeded Wisconsin

ccuhoops-danceThe Coastal Carolina University men’s basketball team is headed to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in as many years and fourth time in program history. The Chanticleers earned a 16 seed in the West Region and will face the No. 1 seed Wisconsin on Friday at 9:20 p.m EST. The Chants and Badgers have met twice on the hardwood but not since Nov. 26, 2005 when Wisconsin won 92-54 in Madison, Wis. Coastal is 0-2 all-time versus the Badgers.

Last season Coastal Carolina was seeded 16th in the East Region and matched up with No. 1 seed and ACC champion Virginia for a second-round game in Raleigh, N.C. Seeking to become the first No. 16 in tournament history to defeat a No. 1, the Chanticleers shot 52 percent in the first half, including 5-for-10 on 3-point attempts, and built a 10-point lead at 31-21 with 4:25 left in the half. Coastal still led by five points at halftime, becoming the ninth No. 16 seed to hold a lead at the break, before Virginia opened the second half with a 15-6 run. A pair of 3-pointers by reserve Tristian Curtis and star freshman Elijah Wilson tied the game at 47 with under nine minutes to play. However, the Cavaliers, who shot 65 percent in the second half and made six 3-pointers, pulled away from there, using a 23-7 spurt to eventually escape with a 70-59 win. Badou Diagne led the Chants in the game with 14 points and six rebounds, while Warren Gillis had 13 points and five rebounds.

Coastal’s first trip to the tournament came in 1991. CCU defeated Augusta College 89-54 in the Big South Tournament Championship game and advanced to a play-in game against Jackson State. Coastal defeated the Tigers 78-59 to earn its first trip to the “Big Dance.” CCU drew the 15 seed in the Southeast Region and took on the second-seeded Indiana Hoosiers. The game took place in Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky. Indiana led by 16 at halftime but senior Brian Penny scored 25 points for Chanticleers in the second half and cut the lead to just three with 2:55 left in the game. The Hoosiers answered with a three and then hit free throws down the stretch to win the game 79-69. Penny went on to be named the CBS/Chevrolet Player of the Game.

CCU’s second trip came in 1993. Coastal defeated Winthrop University in the Big South Tournament Championship 78-65 to earn a berth into the NCAA Tournament. Coastal earned a 16-seed in the West Region where it faced the number one seed Michigan. The “Fab Five” were sophomores in 1993 and defeated the Chanticleers 84-53 en route to a NCAA Championship game appearance. CCU’s Mohammed Acha was named the CBS/Chevrolet Player of the Game.

Head coach Cliff Ellis, who became the only coach in NCAA Division I history to win 150-plus game at four different institutions earlier this season, has now led each school he has coached at to at least two NCAA Tournaments.

Tickets for the NCAA Tournament games can be purchased through the Coastal Carolina University Athletics Ticket Office by calling 1-877-424-2687 or 843-347-8499 between 7-8 p.m. Sunday night, or by calling the Coastal Carolina Athletics Ticket Office in Arcadia Hall starting at 9 a.m. on Monday.

Placing an order does not guarantee you seats. The CCU Athletics Ticket Office will begin calling patrons on Tuesday at Noon to confirm that their ticket order has been either processed or has been placed on a waiting list.

Tickets will be assigned with priority going to CAF members, men’s basketball season ticket holders, then the general public.

Coastal Carolina student tickets will go on sale Monday, March 16 beginning at 9 a.m. at the CCU Athletics Ticket Office. Orders and payments will be taken in person only on a first-come, first-serve basis with a valid student ID.

Tickets can be picked up at the will call area at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb., beginning one hour prior to the first game of the session. Tickets are only for the two designated games in the session. Transportation to and from the game is the ticket holder’s responsibility.

To place an order for tickets please call the CCU Athletics Ticket Office at 843-347-8499 or toll free at 877-424-2687.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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