Late surge carries Coastal to key victory over Radford

ccuhoops-0dribbleWarren Gillis scored on runners in the lane to erase a two-point deficit, then give the Chanticleers a 61-59 lead over Radford with 51 seconds to play. Gillis went on to count the game’s final four points at the free-throw line as the Chanticleers defeated Radford a 65-59 Monday evening at the Dedmon Center.

The win moves the Chanticleers, who own a 19-8 overall record, to 10-5 in Big South play and just a half game back of conference co-leaders High Point and Charleston Southern. The loss knocks the Highlanders back to 19-9 overall and into a tie with Coastal at 10-5 in league contests.

The contest was played in front of a regional broadcast audience on the American Sports Network, but only roughly 200 in-arena spectators after the general public was encouraged to not attend the contest due to blizzard-like conditions that were present throughout Virginia’s New River Valley.

Gillis, who entered the final minute with just four points, finished with 12 tallies for Coastal. Badou Diagne led all scorers with 19 points – including 12 via 3-pointers – to go along with 11 rebounds. Marcus Freeman turned in a career night as he poured in 14 points to go along with 16 boards. Josh Cameron joined the trio in double-figures with 16 points. Cameron, who also made four 3-pointers, scored 14 of his points after the half.

Radford was led by Javonte Green’s 18 points and eight rebounds. R.J. Price poured in 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

Coastal cut Radford’s lead down to two points three times in the opening 12 minutes of the second half before closing the game on a 20-7 run from the 7:29 mark on. With Coastal trailing 52-47, Gillis scored inside and Cameron knocked down a pair of three to take a 53-52 lead with just under six minutes to play.

Radford outscored the Chants 7-4 over the next 3:35 to take a 59-57 lead on Green’s sixth and final free throw with 1:54 to go. Gillis then took over the game and led the Chants to the 65-59 victory.

Coastal scored on its first two shot attempts of the game for a quick 4-0 lead, but missed its next 12 attempts. However, the Chants used its defensive pressure and rebounding to limit Radford to nine points despite the 6:30 scoring drought. Cameron ended Coastal’s shooting woes with a jumper at the 11:40 mark to cut RU’s lead to 9-6.

The Chants’ next three baskets came by way of three Diagne 3-pointers, leaving the black and teal-clad visitors trailing 17-15 with 6:30 to go before the intermission. Scoring picked up over the ensuing four minutes as Radford’s next four makes were answered by Freeman buckets in the paint. The Highlanders closed the half outscoring Coastal 3-2 in the final minute of play to take a 30-25 lead into the locker room.

The Chanticleers shot 39.1 percent (25-of-64) for the game, including 46.7 percent (14-of-30) in the second half. The Chanticleers also owned a 46-37 rebounding advantage. Radford shot 38.3 percent overall, despite making 13-of-29 shots in the opening half.

The Chanticleers return home to The HTC Center to host Campbell at 7 p.m. in its regular season home finale on Thursday, Feb. 19. Prior to the game seniors Josh Cameron and Warren Gillis will be honored for their career achievements and contributions to Coastal Carolina basketball.

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