Raffa, Gradnigo explode as Chants win Big South debut

The Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team opened the Big South Conference schedule on a winning note Thursday night, knocking off VMI 87-78 at Kimbel Arena.

Coastal’s Anthony Raffa and Chris Gradnigo combined to score more than half of the Chanticleers’ points. Raffa scored 23 and Gradnigo added 22 to lead Coastal (6-1 overall, 1-0 Big South) to an easy win over the Keydets (3-3, 0-1).

Coastal’s Sam McLaurin registered a double-double, scoring 19 points and pulling down 15 rebounds to help the Chants outrebound the Keydets 50-29.

CCU’s Brandon Crawford also scored in double figures, scoring 11 points while playing in place for injured starter Kierre Greenwood.

The Chants outscored VMI in the paint 54-28 but failed to hit a 3-pointer in nine attempts. But Coastal shot 54 percent from the field, including a sizzling 68 percent in the second half to help Coastal put the game away.

VMI got a game-high 25 points from Stan Okoye and Keith Gabriel and Ron Burks added 16 and 12 points, respectively.

Coastal will play host to Liberty at 2 p.m. Saturday in a key Big South Conference showdown.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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