Jordan’s 21 points jump-start Lady Chants’ win over Bucs

AJ Jordan scored a career-high 21 points, including 15 in the second half, to lead Coastal Carolina to a 64-54 win over Lowcountry rival Charleston Southern in a Saturday matinee at The HTC Center.

Jordan, a sophomore, finished the game 10-of-13 from the floor and 1-of-1 from the line to go along with a team-high nine boards. Katelyn Connor joined Jordan in double figures with 12 points.

Charleston Southern was led by Lakeitha Alston’s 17 points, each coming in the second half. Alston also pulled down 12 boards to record the first double-double against the Chants since Converse’s Samira Gillcrese did so on Dec. 13, 2012.

The win snaps the Chanticleers’ five-game losing skid and evens the squad at 7-7 on the season and 2-2 in Big South play. The loss knocks Charleston Southern to 5-7 overall and 0-3 in league play.

Coastal fell behind quickly to start the contest as Charleston Southern’s Erin Bratcher opened the scoring with a pair of 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions. The Bucs pulled out to as much as a seven-point lead at 16-9 with 13:15 left showing on the clock. Coastal then stifled the visitors over the ensuing 8:16 en route to taking a 17-16 lead.

Kayla Cook and Jordan scored on mid-range jumpers to start the run, but it was sophomore forward Savanah Pippin who showcased her skills in closing the run and giving the Chants their first lead of the game. Pippin first put up a shot just in front of the rim that proceeded to spin around the iron several time before falling through. She then stepped back and sank a jumper from the elbow following a Chanticleer offensive rebound.

The Bucs’ Shay Jones hit a trey from the corner and DJ Fowler connected on a pair at the line to push Charleston Southern back in front, 21-19, but the Chants once again responded. This time Coastal used an 11-0 run over the final 4:15 to take a nine-point 30-21 lead into the intermission. The run featured a jumper from the right corner by Alexx Puckett, a triple by Cook and a jumper by Jordan. Reserve Jena Hamrick used a strong move down the lane for a layup and DJ Hunter banked a shot off the glass to finish the run.

Jones twice pulled the Buccaneers to within five points in the first three minutes after the break, but Coastal answered back each time to stay firmly ahead on the scoreboard. Coastal then pulled out to a game-high 13 point lead at 41-28 with 15:19 to play thanks to an 8-0 run.

Alston then took over the game for a spurt, scoring nine points of an 11-2 Charleston Southern run to pull the visitors to within four points. However, Jordan sank a pair of basket and Connor converted an old fashioned three-point play to push Coastal back to a double-digit lead.

Charleston Southern outscored Coastal 14-9 over the next 6-plus minutes before an Alexx Puckett free throw put Coastal up 60-53 with 2:45 to play.

Anicia Dotson hit two from the free-throw line, pulling Charleston Southern with five. But it would be too late as Coastal controlled several rebounds in the game’s waning minutes and Charleston Southern was forced to foul.

For the game, Coastal Carolina shot 26-of-61 (42.6 percent) and outscored Charleston Southern 36-16 in the paint. The Buccaneers shot 16-of-56 (28.6 percent) from the floor and held a 9-6 lead in second chance points.

Coastal Carolina continues its homestand on Thursday, Jan. 10 as hosts to High Point. The Chants and Panthers are scheduled for a 7 p.m. tipoff inside The HTC Center.  Charleston Southern returns to the court on Jan. 10 to host Liberty.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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