Coastal sizzles at G-W for first Big South win of year

ccuhoops-wilsonThe Coastal Carolina University men’s basketball team had five players reach double-figures in a 81-69 road victory over Big South Conference foe Gardner-Webb University. Freshman Elijah Wilson led all scorers with 21 points on 8-11 shooting including going 4-4 from 3-point range.

The win moves the Chants record to 8-8 on the year and 1-1 in Big South action. The Runnin’ Bulldogs drop to 7-10 and 0-2 in Big South play.

Junior Josh Cameron poured in 15 points on 4-9 shooting while sinking 2-4 from 3-point range. He was also 5-6 from the free throw line and dished out six assists. Sophomore Uros Ljeskovic turned in one of the best games of his young career. He scored a career-high 14 points on 5-5 shooting and hitting 4-6 from the free throw line. He also had five rebounds.

Sophomore Badou Diagne had 12 points including two dunks. He was 5-6 from the field including 1-1 from three. He was also a perfect 1-1 from the free throw line. The final Chant in double-figures was Warren Gillis who had 11 points while knocking down 7-10 from the free throw line. Gillis led the team with seven helpers as well.

The Chants had a balanced attack on the boards as well as six Chants had four or more rebounds. Ljeskovic led with five boards while sophomore Michel Enanga, senior El Hadji Ndieguene, Gillis, sophomore Tristian Curtis and Diagne all had four.

CCU was hitting from everywhere as the Chants connected on 57.4 percent (27-47) of their shots including 58.3 percent (7-12) from three. Coastal’s defense held the Runnin’ Bulldogs to 38.2 percent (21-55) shooting including 33.3 percent (8-24) from three.

The Chants and Runnin’ Bulldogs traded baskets over the opening 10 minutes of a game but a 7-0 run that ended at the 8:53 mark of the first half gave CCU a 19-12 lead. The Chants would eventually push their lead to 14 on a pair of free throws from senior Eric Smith with 2:03 to play. A Ljeskovic three-point play with 26 seconds left in the period gave the Chants their largest lead of the first half at 35-20. Gardner-Webb closed out the half with a three-point play of its own to make the halftime score 35-23.

The second half saw the Chants slowly increase their lead throughout the period. A three-pointer from Wilson gave the Chants their largest lead of the game at 77-56 with 2:44 to play. With the game in hand the Runnin’ Bulldogs slowly chipped away late eventually cutting the lead to the final score of 81-69.

The Chants will return home this Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. as they host UNC Asheville who is currently 2-0 in conference play with wins over Gardner-Webb and Presbyterian.

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