Chants put on show in HTC Center’s national TV debut

For the first time in Big South Conference history, two teams from the BSC were featured on ESPNU. The Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina hosted the Keydets of VMI Saturday afternoon.

The Chants used a strong defensive effort and rebounding to down VMI 72-49 inside The HTC Center. VMI forward Stan Okoye and CCU guard Anthony Raffa entered the game as the number one and two scorers in the Big South.

Okoye struggled the entire game scoring 16 points and grabbing 12 boards while shooting just 28.6 percent (6-21) from the field. Raffa led the Chants with 21 points, five rebounds and three steals while shooting 66.7 percent (8-12) from the floor.

The loss marked the first in conference play for VMI as the Keydets fell to 9-8 overall and 4-1 in BSC action. The Chants improved to 8-8 overall and 3-2 in the BSC.

Raffa’s 21 points moved him into 10th on the CCU career scoring list. He now has 1,216 points in his CCU career. Helping push the offense for the Chants was sophomore Warren Gillis who had 12 points while junior El Hadji Ndieguene and freshman Badou Diagne each ended the game with nine points and nine boards. Diagne also dished out four assists. Senior guard Kierre Greenwood returned to the lineup after missing the previous contest due to flu-like symptoms. He dished out a game-high eight assists while adding four rebounds and a pair of points.

VMI was led by Okoye and Rodney Glasgow who each had 16 points. Okoye added 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals while Glasgow hit 4-of-7 from 3-point range. D.J. Covington chipped in nine rebounds as well.

The Chants shot 42.4 percent (28-66) from the field including just 26.7 percent (4-15) from 3-point range. The Keydets shot a season-low 30.4 percent (17-56) from the field and hit just 25.8 percent (8-31) from beyond the 3-point line.

The win snapped VMI’s five-game win streak and also snapped CCU’s two-game skid. Coastal dominated in the paint, outscoring the Keydets 40-21. CCU also owned the boards, outrebounding VMI 52-35.

The Chants return to action Wednesday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. in Asheville, N.C., against UNC Asheville. The Bulldogs are 8-10 on the season and 2-2 in conference play. They host Longwood today at 4:30 p.m.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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