Chants’ late comeback bid falls short against Auburn

ccuhoops-23aubCoastal Carolina pieced together an 18-4 run over the final 4:30 of the game to close Auburn’s lead to one, but Shivaughn Wiggins’ 3-pointer at the buzzer clanked off the rim and the Tigers held on for an 81-78 Wednesday evening in front of a HTC Center capacity crowd of 3,286.

The Chanticleers (3-4) were led by Elijah Wilson’s 25 points as the junior made eight shots, including a season-high six threes. Also in double-figures for Coastal were Shivaughn Wiggins (17) and Tristian Curtis (11). Michel Enanga grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds – with 10 coming off the defensive glass.

Six Tigers (4-1) reached double-figures led by Tyler Harris’ 21 to go along with 12 rebounds.

Auburn made 11-of-31 three-pointers (.355) on the day, but only 3-of-13 in the second half as the Tigers finished the contest with a 43.6 shooting percentage.  Coastal shot 43.3 percent in the final period after making only 37.5 percent in the opening period. The Chanticleer made 8-of-28 threes. Both teams finished with 39 rebounds and 26 personal fouls.

Coastal jumped out to an early 6-2 lead, but the Tigers quickly responded with an 11-0 run to take a 13-6 lead just five minutes into the contest. Two Badou Diagne free throws, a Wiggins layup and Curtis score inside cut the Chants deficit to 14-12, but Auburn regained its composure and made five 3-pointers throughout the remaining nine minutes of the half to push its lead to 44-32.

However, Coastal scored five points in the final 12 seconds after an Auburn player was whistled for technical foul and Colton Ray-St Cyr scored inside as time expired to bring the Chants with seven point of the Tigers at 44-37.

Auburn used an 18-9 run over the initial 4:38 of the second half to establish a then-game-high 16-point lead at 62-46. Wilson connected on a 3-pointer to slow Auburn, but The Tigers stretched their lead to 70-53 with 10 minutes to play in regulation.

Bryce Brown put the visitors up 74-57 with 7:30 to go before Wiggins reeled off five of the game’s next seven points and Enanga dropped in a 3-pointer from the left wing, cutting the Chants deficit to 65-75 with 4:00 showing on the game clock. A Harris layup slowed Coastal before Wilson made a three and Curtis converted a dunk off an inbounds play, bringing the Auburn advantage to only seven at 77-70.

CCU then cut the Auburn lead to 78-75 as a stop on the defensive end sparked Wilson’s fifth 3-pointer of the night and a pair of Enanga free throws after being fouled grabbing a defensive rebound. Cinmeon Bowers made one at the stripe and Wilson answered with yet another three to pull Coastal with a point at 79-78 with 24 seconds showing on the clock.

Coastal was unable to get a steal on the inbound pass and Kareem Canty made two at the line to make the score 81-87 and put the game away for Auburn.

The Chanticleers step back into Big South Conference play on Sunday as they welcome the Highlanders of Radford to the HTC Center for a 2 p.m. tipoff. Coastal bested Radford, which has wins over Georgetown and Penn State this season, 65-59 in the teams’ only meeting last year.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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