Shorthanded Chants suffer third straight loss to Eagles

The Coastal Carolina University men’s basketball team suffered its third consecutive Big South Conference loss for the first time in three years on Saturday, falling 67-57 to Winthrop in Rock Hill.

Playing without starter Kierre Greenwood due to a one-game suspension and backup Danny Nieman due to injury, the Chants dropped their second straight to one of the league’s lower-tier teams and find their fortunes drastically reversed this week.

In the course of five days, the Chanticleers have gone from challenging UNC Asheville for first place and the right to host the conference tournament to battling for the right to host a first-round game.

The Chants (17-8 overall, 10-5 Big South) fell behind Campbell, which defeated Coastal on Tuesday, for second place in the standings and is now trying to hold off Charleston Southern for third place.

Coastal, which ranked No. 2 in the nation in shooting percentage at 50.1 percent to start the week, shot well below its average for the third straight game. The Chants were held to 42 percent shooting on Saturday.

Winthrop broke open a close game by going on a 7-0 run just before halftime for a 39-28 lead, then stretched the run to 15-0 to open the second half to claim its largest lead of the game at 19 points, 47-28.

Coastal went more than 8 minutes without scoring a field goal during the key stretch. The Chants trailed by as many as 23 before cutting the deficit to eight in the final minute but they could not get any closer to the Eagles (11-16, 8-8).

Winthrop was led by Andre Jones with 15 points, George Valentine’s 13 points and Matt Morgan’s 12 points and eight rebounds.

Coastal was led by Sam McLaurin’s 12 points, Dexter Moore’s 10 and Charles Ashford’s nine. Leading scorers Anthony Raffa and Chris Gradnigo were held to four and five points, respectively.

Greenwood was suspended for an unspecified violation of team rules and is expected to be back for Tuesday’s home game against UNC Asheville at Kimbel Arena.

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