Coastal plays D, hits boards in blowout over Blue Hose

ccuhoops-21blockFueled by a plus-22 rebounding margin and stifling defense Coastal Carolina weathered a slow start to claim a 63-52 victory over Presbyterian College in Big South men’s basketball action Saturday afternoon.

Coastal was shooting just 26 percent from the field before making 11-of-14 shots during a 12-minute, game-defining stretch through the middle stages of the second half. The shooting spree ended with the Chants holding a 15 point lead en route to their eighth home victory of the season.

Coastal (15-5, 6-2 Big South) was led offensively by Josh Cameron’s 16 points – 13 of which came in the second half. Also reaching double-figures for the Chanticleers were Warren Gillis (11), Badou Diagne (10) and Shivaughn Wiggins (10). Diagne also led Coastal’s rebounding efforts as he pulled down 11 boards to tally his sixth double-double of the season. Tristian Curtis grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds, helping the Chants win the battle on the boards 44-22.

Presbyterian (7-14, 3-5 Big South) was paced by Jordan Downing’s 17 points – nine of which came via three 3-pointers in the final 4:22. DeSean Murray joined Downing in double-figures with 14 points. Downing and Murray also led the Blue Hose on the boards with six each.

The teams struggled scoring the basketball, shooting a combined 9-of-32, in the opening 12-plus minutes of the game with PC holding a 14-9 lead at the 7:49 mark of the first half. Diagne then got the scoring rolling with a thunderous dunk on an alley-oop from Wiggins. The dunk ignited a 17-6 Coastal scoring spree, culminating in a 26-20 Chanticleer halftime lead.

PC’s Murray answered Diagne’s dunk with a score inside, but Coastal then reeled of nine straight points. Gillis knocked down a mid-range jumper before Curtis threw down a put-back dunk. Gillis then made a pair at the line and Wiggins scored an old-fashioned 3-point play. PC’s William Truss bookended a Wiggins free throw and Curtis tip-in with scores. Two possessions later, Coastal forced a Blue Hose turnover and Cameron made the most of it with his 44th 3-pointer of the year to provide the halftime score.

The Blue Hose pulled to within three points of the Chanticleers on three separate occasions in the second half. But each time Gillis, Coastal’s veteran leader, answered with a shot to keep the Blue Hose at bay.

After PC’s Murray made the score 33-30 in Coastal’s favor, the Chanticleers responded with a 12-2 run to take a 45-32 lead. The run was started with a Gillis 3-pointer and closed with a Michel Enanga layup after Cameron stole the Blue Hose inbounds pass and fed the open Cameroonian. Cameron also knocked down 3-pointer seconds before stealing the inbounds pass.

Downing briefly slowed Coastal with a bucket, but the white and teal-clad Chants regained their composure and reeled off seven unanswered points to take a decisive 52-36 lead with 6:40 to play. Presbyterian scored 12 of the final 22 points, but never threatened as the Chanticleers won its 11th straight over the Blue Hose.

Coastal ended the game making 21-of-57 shots (36.8 percent) and took advantage of its offensive rebounding to produce 12 second-chance points. PC shot 42.2 percent (19-of-45) and outscored Coastal 28-24 in the paint.

The Chanticleers remain at The HTC Center for a rematch of the 2014 Big South Tournament championship game when rival Winthrop visits Conway for a 7 p.m. tipoff on Wed., Jan. 28.

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