Ellis faces familiar foe’s son as Chants visit The Citadel

Forgive Coastal Carolina coach Cliff Ellis if he starts to feel his age a little bit Tuesday night.

The last time he took a team on the road to face The Citadel’s coach Chuck Driesell, Ellis was the coach at Clemson and Driesell was wearing shorts and sneakers.

The second-year Citadel coach was playing for his father, Ellis’ longtime friend and legendary coach Lefty Driesell, at Maryland the first year Ellis took his Tigers to College Park in the 1984-85 season, which was the younger Driesell’s senior year.

More than a quarter-century later, Chuck Driesell is coaching the Bulldogs and Ellis has made the move to Coastal, where he will try to earn his 700th career coaching victory . He won last year’s head-to-head meeting with the younger Driesell, but wasn’t as lucky against Lefty.

Ellis and the elder Driesell split their four meetings in the ACC, but Ellis is a perfect 10-0 against The Citadel dating back to his college playing days at Florida State.

But none of those things matter when the Chanticleers (7-1) return to the hardwood and the road on Tuesday with a short trip down Highway 17 to face the Bulldogs at McAlister Field House.

The Citadel is coming off three consecutive losses that include two losses against Southern Conference opponents. The Bulldogs have also dropped a pair of games to Big South foes VMI (103-100) and High Point (80-72).

The Bulldogs are led by center, Mike Groselle, who is averaging a double-double with 17.7 points and 11.4 rebounds. Marshall Harris III leads the team with 3.4 assists per game.

Coastal holds a 5-4 series lead over The Citadel in the all-time series that began during the 1979-80 season. Coastal defeated the Bulldogs last season at Kimbel Arena, 72-64.

Chris Gradnigo tied a season-high with 23 points while draining five three-pointers as Coastal (7-1, 2-0) won its seventh game of the year, 78-68 over Liberty on Saturday, Dec. 3 at Kimbel Arena.

With an 87-78 win Saturday over VMI, the Chants improved to 21-6 in conference openers, including eight of their last nine. Coastal Carolina is coming off back-to-back Big South regular season championships, compiling a 33-5 record during conference play over the last two years.

Junior guard Anthony Raffa has recorded double-figures in points in each of his last 17 games, dating back to Feb. 12 of last season. Raffa is currently leading the Chanticleers in scoring, averaging 17.8 points per game.

Raffa was the top returning scorer with 11.7 points per game last year. He is currently tied for the Big South lead in steals (18) while his 17.8 ppg points ranks third.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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