Coastal faces tough test to stay in Sun Belt title chase

After a road trip that produced two loses for the Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team, the Chanticleers will turn to its home court in looking to get back in the win column.

CCU (9-11, 4-3 Sun Belt) will open the two-game home stand hosting Texas State Saturday (11-8, 4-3 Sun Belt), Jan. 28 at 4:30 p.m. With both teams tied for fifth place in the Sun Belt standings, the winner will move into contention for the title while the loser will fade into the middle of the pack.

The two teams met on Jan. 2 in San Marcos with the Chanticleers fighting through a physical game to come away with a 60-53 win.  That win was CCU’s first conference win as a member of the Sun Belt Conference, and it was also CCU’s first true road win of the season.

Coastal will follow that game up hosting Texas-Arlington, the conference’s highest ranked team.  In the latest RPI list released by the NCAA, Texas Arlington had an RBI Listing of 51, while Arkansas State is next at 83.

The Chanticleers continue to be led in scoring by Elijah Wilson and Jaylen Shaw.  Wilson averages 14.1 points per game and Shaw is right behind at 13.8.

Shaw is also the team-leader in assists with 80 and in steals with 24.  Demario Beck has been a consistent scorer and rebounder for CCU.  He averages just over nine points per game and leads the team in rebounds averaging 7.7 per outing.

Senior Colton Ray-St Cyr may be playing some of his best basketball of the season.  He has scored 35 points over the past two road games and had a double-double at Georgia State and came up one rebound short of completing a double-double at Georgia Southern.  On the season he averages 9.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

Junior guard Shivaughn Wiggins has brought some solid calmness to the Chants.  While he is averaging 9.4 points and 3.6 rebounds since his return four games ago, his largest contribution has come in the turnover department.

Before he got back on the court, CCU was one of the worse turnover teams not only in the Sun Belt, but in the nation.  As a team the Chants were averaging 15 turnovers per game.  Since Wiggins return, the Chants are only averaging eight per game, which has cut their turnovers in half.

The Bobcats will come to Conway with the Sun Belt’s top defense allowing only 63.8 points per game.  Their opponents are shooting 41 percent from the field, but the namesake of the Texas State defense is pressure, as evidenced by their 139 steals and 86 blocked shots. Their 4.5 blocked shots per game is best in the Sun Belt and their 7.3 steals per game is also near the top of the conference.

Monday night’s tilt with Texas-Arlington will begin at 7 p.m.  Both games can be heard live on WSEA Sports Radio 100.3.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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