Chants rally on road to top South Alabama in overtime

ccuhoops-usaIt took and extra period, but Coastal Carolina fought back from a 16-point first-half deficit to defeat South Alabama 81-77 in overtime.

Elijah Wilson led four players in double digits with a game-high 21 points. Demario Beck had 18, Colton Ray-St Cyr had 15 and Jaylen Shaw added 10.

The Chants (14-14, 9-6 Sun Belt) had two player’s record double-doubles with Ray-St Cyr grabbing a team and game-high 16 rebounds followed by Beck’s 14 as CCU out rebounded USA 51-30.

CCU had to fight back in the second half out scoring USA 32-29 to send the game into the extra period. CCU cut into the lead a couple of times early in the second half only to see USA push the lead back to double digits, even leading 54-44 with 9:48 left in the game.

From there the Chants slowly cut into the lead before tying the score at 61 on two Wilson free throws. USA came right back and pushed the lead to 66-61 with 2:36 left before a three point basket from Artur Labinowicz and a lay-up from Beck evened the score at 66.

CCU went on to take a quick 68-66 lead with 29 seconds left on a Shaw floater, but once again, the home team was able to get a shot to fall with seven seconds left on the clock to send it to overtime.

In the extra five minutes, CCU scored first and USA came right back and scored, then added a free throw on the shot to lead 71-70. That would be USA’s final lead of the game as CCU took the lead for good on a Beck layup.

While CCU struggled at the free throw line only hitting 12 of 23, Ray-St Cyr and Wilson combined to knock down five of their last six free throws in the extra period for the final score.

CCU shot 40 percent from the field for the game and hit 11 three point field goals to shoot 37 percent on those.

CCU had seven steals with Ray-St Cyr having a game-high three and Shaw had a game-high seven assists.

South Alabama (13-14, 6-8 Sun Belt) shot 44 percent from the field, but could only make six of 21 on its three point field goals. They were able to get to the free throw line where they attempted 34 free throws, making 21.

Ken Williams led a foursome of Jaguars in double digits with 17 points. Trhae Mitchell and Georgi Boyanov had 13 each while Don MuepoKelly had 11. Williams completed a double-double for the Jags with 10 rebounds.

With the game even at 20 in the first half, USA went on a 19-5 scoring run over the final 6:51 to take a 39-25 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The biggest contribution for the home standing Jags was their ability to get to the free throw line where they connected on nine of 14, whereas the Chants only attempted eight.

USA shot 46 percent from the field with Muepokelly leading the way with eight points and Williams adding six.

The Chants went cold from the field over the final minutes and wound up shooting 36 percent from the field. Wilson had 12 points in the opening half and Ray-St Cyr added six.

The Chanticleers will be back home for their next two outings, which will represent the final regular season home games of the year. CCU will host Louisiana Saturday Feb. 25 at 4:30 p.m. and host Louisiana Monroe the following Monday at 7 p.m. Monday’s game will be a celebration of this year’s senior class.

Photo courtesy of USA Athletics

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