Chants’ Big Dance dream halted by G-W comeback

ccuhoops-10The Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team’s dream of a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament quickly disappeared Friday night.

Sixth-seeded Gardner-Webb rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit to upset third-seeded Coastal Carolina, 69-65, in the fourth quarterfinal game of the 2016 Big South Men’s Basketball Championship in Buies Creek, N.C.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs posted their first victory of the season when trailing at halftime and advanced to the semifinal round for the third time in program history. They will face No. 2 seed Winthrop Saturday at 3 p.m., seeking their first appearance in the Big South Championship game.

Tyrell Nelson scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in the second half while grabbing nine rebounds to lead Gardner-Webb. Harold McBride tallied 15 points, while Adonis Burbage added 14, including four 3-pointers. Dylan Poston had a team-high 11 rebounds, along with eight points.

Shivaughn Wiggins led Coastal with 17 points, while Elijah Wilson scored 15 – all in the first half.

Gardner-Webb cut into Coastal’s 38-25 halftime lead with an 11-2 run over a 3:34 span to get within 46-44 on a 3-pointer by Burbage at the 12:09 mark. The Runnin’ Bulldogs then took their first lead since it was 7-6 on a three-point play by L’Hassane Niangane with 6:20 remaining, making it 53-52.

Jaylen Shaw gave Coastal the lead back temporarily with a 3-pointer, but five points by Nelson around another Burbage 3-pointer put Gardner-Webb up 61-57 with 4:10 to go. One free throw by Niangane and a jumper by Nelson then made it a seven-point game with 2:05 to play.

An acrobatic three-point play by Colton Ray-St Cyr cut the Chanticleers’ deficit to 64-60 and Wiggins followed two Gardner-Webb free throws with a 3-pointer to make it a one-possession game with 44 seconds on the clock.

Isaiah Ivey made one of two free throws before Nelson put home a breakaway dunk off an outlet pass to cap off the scoring.

After shooting just 29 percent in the first half, Gardner-Webb hit on 44 percent from the field in the second 20 minutes to finish at 37 percent for the game. The Runnin’ Bulldogs were 4 of 10 from 3-point range in the second half after making just 2 of 18 from behind the arc before halftime.

Coastal’s shooting dipped from 43 percent in the first half to 30 percent in the second, including just 5 of 19 on 3-pointers. The Chanticleers were 11 for 35 from long range in the game.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs also dominated the rebounding battle in the second half 26-16, finishing with a 46-38 advantage.

Photo courtesy of Big South Conference

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