Ole Miss rallies past Chants with second-half charge

After leading 39-36 at halftime, the Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team gave up 54 second half points and fell 90-72 on the road at Ole Miss.

Freshman Michel Enanga led the team with his first career double-double after having one of the best first halves in Coastal Carolina history. Enanga had eight points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in the first 20 minutes of play and was just a few assists and two points away from becoming the first Coastal Carolina player in program history to record a triple-double and just the 10th player in Big South history to record the feat.

Enanga managed just two points and a rebound in the second half to finish with 10 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists in 29 minutes of play. He picked up two fouls early in the second which forced him to sit for a majority of the second period.

Senior Anthony Raffa finished with a team-high 18 points while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out three assists. Sophomore Warren Gillis added 14 points while hitting 5-of-9 shots from the floor and going 4-for-5 at the free-throw line. Freshman Badou Diagne came off the bench to score 10 points while hitting a pair from beyond the arc.

Ole Miss was led by Marshall Henderson who scored 27 points while knocking down six triples. Murphy Holloway added 15 points and 12 boards in the post while hitting 6-of-7 from the field.

The Chants turned the ball over 19 times which proved to be a huge factor in the game as the Rebels turned those turnovers into 27 points. Ole Miss turned the ball over 11 times but CCU was only able to convert those into 12 points. Coastal won the battle of the boards 39-34.

Coastal shot 41.9 percent from the floor including just 35.5 percent in the second half. The Chants hit over 50 percent of the 4-pointers in the first half but that efficiency dropped to below 25 percent in the second half. The Rebels hit 50.8 percent of their shots from the field including 56.3 percent in the second half. They were a steady 33.3 percent from 3-point range in both the first and second halves.

The first half opened with a 9-2 run by the Rebels but Coastal began to schip away at that lead and eventually took a 15-14 lead on a Raffa layup with 12:21 to play in the first half. Ole Miss answered with a short 5-0 run but a free throw by Enanga followed by a three from Diange and a jumper from Ndieguene put the Chants back on top at 21-19 with 9:43 to play. The Rebels quickly retook the lead by Coastal would not let them get out in front by much as the two teams traded baskets over the next six minutes.

With 3:33 left in the half and the Chants down 31-29, Enanga and Greenwood delivered back-to-back triples to put Coastal up by four. A dunk just under a minute later by Gillis pushed the lead to six with 2:13 left to play in the half. Gillis would deliver again at the 1:52 mark as he blocked a UM shot and then raced down the court and hit a fast break layup to put the Chants up by eight. A 3-pointer by the Rebels ended the run and cut the lead to just five. After Coastal turned the ball over on their final possession of the half the Rebels hit a layup with four seconds remaining to cut the lead to just three at the break.

After both teams traded baskets on the opening two possessions of the second half the Rebels began a 12-2 run to take a seven point lead with just over 15:30 to play in the game. A jumper by Diagne and a layup by freshman Tristian Curtis cut the lead to just three but the Rebels answered with seven unanswered points to push the advantage to 10 with 12:34 remaining. The lead continued to grow eventually ballooning to a 23-point advantage with 52 seconds left on the clock.  A 3-pointer and a pair of free throws by Raffa in the final minute of play cut the lead to 18 as time expired.

Coastal quickly returns to action this Thursday at 8 p.m. as the Chants travel to Tennessee Tech for another non-conference matchup.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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