Chants host VMI, ESPNU; Weisbrod joins broadcast

The Big South Conference will have its first-ever regular-season game on ESPNU this Saturday, Jan. 19, as the 24-hour college sports network will televise the VMI at Coastal Carolina men’s basketball game live at 11 a.m.

Adam Amin (play-by-play) and former Chanticleer women’s basketball standout Brooke Weisbrod (analyst) will call the action from the HTC Center on the Conway campus.  It will be the first of two regular-season Big South games on ESPNU this season.

VMI (9-7 overall) enters Saturday’s action on a five-game winning streak and first in the North Division with a 4-0 Big South record.  It is the Keydets’ best Conference start since opening the 2008-09 Big South season 6-0.  Coastal Carolina is tied for second in the South Division with a 2-2 Big South record (7-8 overall) following Wednesday’s last-second loss at Gardner-Webb.

The Chanticleers are 6-2 in their new on-campus arena, which is also the site of the 2013 VisitMyrtleBeach.com Big South Basketball Championships from March 5-10.

Saturday’s contest is a rematch of last year’s Big South Tournament Quarterfinal meeting, in which the No. 7-seeded Keydets upset the No. 2-seeded Chanticleers, 85-68 on Feb. 29 as part of their run to the Conference Championship game.

Big South Preseason Player of the Year Stan Okoye of VMI leads the Big South with 20.9 points per game, including a League-best 25.3 average in Conference games.  He is also second in overall rebounds per game with 8.9.  Okoye is the third player in Big South history with 1,800 career points (1,814) and 800 career rebounds (815), and needs two blocked shots to become the Conference’s first-ever player with 1,800 points, 800 rebounds and 100 blocks.  Junior D.J. Covington is the Big South’s leader in field goal percentage (55.0) and is second with 2.81 blocked shots per game.  As a team, VMI is averaging a League-best 82.2 points overall and 79.0 in Conference games.

Coastal Carolina is led by preseason All-Conference pick Anthony Raffa, who is second to Okoye on the Big South’s scoring chart this season with 18.6 points.  Senior point guard Kierre Greenwood, who missed Wednesday’s game at Gardner-Webb with flu-like symptoms, is fourth in the Conference with 4.64 assists per game and his 19.0 scoring average in Big South contests is second-highest.

Raffa (1,195) and Greenwood (1,037) give the Chanticleers the Big South’s lone team with two active 1,000-point scorers.  Junior El Hadji Ndieguene is averaging a League-high 11.3 rebounds in Conference games, while Coastal Carolina is tops in scoring defense in Big South contests, holding League foes to 61.2 points, in addition to a Conference-best +9.2 rebounding margin.

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