Tennessee Tech beats CCU in farewell to Kimbel Arena

The Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team’s bracket was busted with last week’s three-game losing streak, but Saturday’s 77-71 loss to Tennessee Tech in the NCAA BracketBuster showdown didn’t help matters.

The Chanticleers (18-9) entered the inter-conference clash secure in the knowledge that all their postseason hopes rest in winning the Big South Conference next week.

In what could be the final game in the history of Kimbel Arena, which will be replaced by the new facility next season, the Chants all but guaranteed that they will not host even an NIT game if invited.

The only chance of another home game for Coastal this season would be for top-seeded UNC Asheville to lose in an early round of the Big South Conference Tournament, moving the finals to the No. 2-seeded Chants.

It appeared the Chants would run away with this one early. Coastal scored the game’s first eight points and led by as many as 15 points midway through the first half before Tennessee Tech answered the wake-up call.

The Golden Eagles closed the first half with an 18-3 run, capped by Zack Swansey’s 3-pointer in the final seconds to tie the game at 26-all at intermission. They extended the streak to a 41-14 run by taking a 49-36 advantage midway through the second half.

Coastal trailed by as many as 14 before making a late run. Anthony Raffa’s layup capped an 8-0 run that cut the score to 59-51 with 8 minutes left, but the Chants missed the front ends of two one-and-ones while the Eagles went on a 7-0 run back to push the lead back to 15, 66-51.

Coastal had one more run left in them and cut the lead to as little as four with 38 seconds left, but they simply couldn’t keep pace with Tennessee Tech (18-11) as the Ohio Valley Conference likely closed the final chapter on Kimbel Arena with a win.

John Pack led the Chants with 15 points and nine rebounds. Teammates Anthony Raffa, Chris Gradnigo and Sam McLaurin added 12 apiece.

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