Coastal’s title chances dealt blow with loss to Winthrop

ccuhoops-winthropDespite a career-high 20 points by Colton Ray-St Cyr and 19 by redshirt sophomore Jaylen Shaw, Coastal Carolina was unable to overcome Winthrop’s second-half offensive onslaught as the Eagles secured a 79-67 home victory Thursday evening.

Winthrop (19-7, 11-4 Big South) was led by Xavier Cooks’ 26-point, 10-rebound double-double. Keon Johnson, who entered the contest averaging a Big South-best 20.0 points per night, scored 16, including a 10-of-10 performance at the free-throw line. Jimmy Gavin (11) and Adam Pickett (10) also reached double-figures for the Eagles.

Ray-St Cyr’s career-best 20 paced CCU (16-10, 10-6 BSC) as the junior made 6-of-9 field goals and 7-of-7 at the line. Shaw scored 11 of his 19 after the half, making 9-of-17 attempts. Badou Diagne led Coastal with 10 rebounds.

Coastal shot 35.8 percent (24-67), 17.4 percent (4-23) and 78.9 percent (15-19) from the line. Winthrop made 25-of-64 field goals (39.1 percent), 9-of-27 3-pointers (33.3 percent) and all 20 free-throw attempts. The Eagles held a 44-41 rebounding advantage, while Coastal outscored Winthrop 30-26 in the paint and 15-8 off turnovers.

Winthrop stormed to nine-point lead a 46-37 as the Eagles made 6-of-7 seven shots, including a pair of triples by Cooks, in the early stages of the second half.  Ray-St Cyr kept Coastal in the game over the next six minutes, putting together a solo 7-3 run, cutting Winthrop’s lead to 49-44 with 11:36 to play.

Shaw’s dunk at 10:32 cut Winthrop advantage to 51-49, but Coastal would get no closer as the Eagles scored 19 of the game’s next 23 points en route to a game-high 17-point lead at 70-53. The 19-4 run a trio of Eagle 3-pointers along with a 6-of-6 effort at free throws. Coastal closed the game to within nine with three minutes to play, but would get no closer.

Woeful shooting plagued both teams in the opening 10 minutes as the squads combined to make only four of the game’s first 23 field goal attempts, and none from 3-point range. The game then turned into a free-throw contest over the next six minutes as a total of 20 free throw were attempted before the four-minute mark of the first half.

A Wilson free-throw line jumper put Coastal up 24-23 at the 4:36 mark, but Winthrop’s Duby Okeke countered with a dunk on the other end that sparked a 7-0 run. Cook’s drained a three from the left wing and Jimmy Gavin scored inside to cap the run and provide the black-clad Eagles a 30-24 lead with 3:04 to in the half.

Two defensive stops later, Colton Ray-St Cyr broke Coastal’s near three-minute scoreless streak with a jumper in the paint. Shaw followed with a floater of his own and Ron Trapps dropped in a NBA-range 3-pointer with five ticks left in the opening half to cap a 7-2 Coastal run and send the Chanticleers into the locker room trailing 32-31.

Coastal Carolina plays its final scheduled game against Charleston Southern as a member of the Big South Conference on Thursday. The two rivals are set for a 7 p.m. tipoff at the HTC Center.

Photo courtesy of Winthrop Athletics

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