Greenwood hits 1,000-point mark as Chants blast Hose

For the fourth-straight season the Chanticleers of Coastal Carolina opened Big South Conference play with back-to-back wins. Following a hard-fought 80-72 victory at Longwood the Chants returned home and overcame a sloppy first half to down visiting Presbyterian College 61-43.

Senior Kierre Greenwood scored 11 points in the victory including his 1,000th career point which happened at the 9:12 mark of the first half on a free throw. Greenwood entered the contest with 999 career points and became the 18th player in CCU history to move past the 1,000 point mark.

The win moved Coastal’s record to 7-6 marking the first time the Chants have been above .500 since their opening night victory over Akron. CCU is also a perfect 2-0 in Big South Conference play. The Blue Hose of Presbyterian fell to 3-13 on the season and 0-2 in BSC action.

Junior El Hadji Ndieguene led all Coastal scorers with 13 points and also grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Senior Anthony Raffa chipped in 12 points while freshman Badou Diagne tied a career-high 10 points while nailing a pair of 3-pointers in the contest. Diagne also led the team with three steals.

Jordan Downing led the Blue Hose with 19 points including going 4-of-5 from deep while preseason all-conference pick Khalid Mutakabbir added 11 points including six in the final 1:30 of the game on a pair of threes.

The Chanticleers held the Blue Hose, who entered the game with the best field goal percentage in the Big South, to just 35.0 percent shooting, over 11 percentage points below their season average. PC shot much better from behind the arc as the Blue Hose connected on 9-of-21 from downtown good for 42.9 percent. CCU shot 38.9 percent from the field including 33.3 percent from 3-point range.

For the 11th time this season the Chanticleers controlled the boards, out-rebounding the Blue Hose 39-23 including a 20-8 advantage on the offensive glass. The Chants also forced 17 Blue Hose turnovers and converted those mistakes to a 27-13 advantage in points off turnovers.

Both teams struggled offensively in the first half including scoring a combined 10 points over the opening seven minutes of the game. After a 7-3 opening run by the Chants the Blue Hose used a 12-2 run to take its largest lead of the game at the 7:27 mark of the first half (15-9). Back-to-back scores by Diagne and Greenwood cut the PC lead to just two but the Blue Hose answered with a triple from deep to push their advantage to five.

Raffa and Ndieguene combined to cut the lead to one with 1:55 to play in the half but Downing was fouled while shooting a three on the very next possession and he sunk all three from the charity stripe to make the score 21-17. After a pair of free throws by Raffa cut the lead to two, Raffa and a PC player got tangled up on the very next possession and double technical fouls were called which seemed to spark the Chants. PC was called for an offensive foul with eight ticks left on the clock which gave Coastal one last possession in the first half. Greenwood found Raffa ahead of the pack and he drained a three from the left side of the court as time expired to give CCU a 22-21 lead heading into the break.

CCU opened the second half with a 7-0 run including five from Diagne who drained a three on CCU’s opening possession and then picked up a steal and hit a jumper just one possession later. PC cut the lead to two on a 3-pointer by Mutakabbir with 13:41 left to play but Coastal responded with a 27-5 run including 11 from the hands of Ndieguene to take a 58-34 lead with just 2:35 to play. Three 3-pointers down the stretch by the Blue Hose helped trim the lead to just 18 as time expired.

CCU will return to action this Saturday at Liberty for a 6 p.m. tip. The Flames dropped their second-straight Big South tilt to VMI 82-69 on the road Wednesday night.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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