Coastal sends seniors out with an exclamation mark

Senior guard Anthony Raffa scored 18 points and sophomore guard Warren Gillis had 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead Coastal Carolina to a 73-54 rout of Winthrop in a Big South Conference game at the HTC Center Wednesday.

It was the last regular season home game for the Chanticleers, who honored their four seniors prior to the contest.

The Chants improved to 14-13 overall and 9-6 in the Conference while Winthrop slipped to 12-16, 5-10.

Raffa scored 11 of his 18 points in the second half, and his first bucket of the second period gave Coastal its biggest lead of the night, 46-26, with 17:25 remaining in the game. Winthrop never got closer than 13 points the rest of the way.

Gillis posted his first double-double of the season, and the 6-3 lefthander also contributed three steals and two assists. Senior floor leader Kierre Greenwood also collected 16 points, with 12 of those coming in the first half.

Coastal led from start to finish, opening up with a nine-point run and adding runs of eight and 11 points in the first half when it built a 15-point advantage at 39-22 with 1:03 left in the period. The Chanticleers led at the half, 41-24, on the strength of their rebounding, where they held a 27-12 advantage and turned it into 23 second-chance points.

Gillis already had 12 points and six rebounds at the half. Raffa, the team’s leading scorer at 19 points a game, went 10 minutes before he had a bucket but ended the half with seven points.

The Chanticleers finished with a 45-26 advantage on the boards and grabbed 19 on the offensive end. Sophomore center El Hadji Ndieguene grabbed nine rebounds, two above his team-leading average.

The win avenged an earlier season 61-48 loss at Winthrop, where the Eagles held a 39-27 rebounding advantage. In that game, guard Andre Smith scored 14 points and had seven rebounds. This time around, he was held to three points and two rebounds. Joab Jerome topped the Eagles in this game with 16 points.

The Chants honored Greenwood, Raffa, Charles Ashford and Bisi Addey prior to the game. All four scored at least two points in the game.

Coastal Carolina will close its regular season with a 4:30 p.m. tipoff at league leader Charleston Southern on Saturday. Charleston Southern owns a 16-11, 11-4 record to lead the South Division. Coastal will host the Big South Tournament from March 5-10 at the HTC Center.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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