Coastal lets late lead slip away in OT loss to Eagles

ccuhoops-badouThe Coastal Carolina University men’s basketball team came up one point short Saturday night inside The HTC Center as the Eagles of Winthrop University took a 73-72 overtime victory on the Chants home court.

CCU led by as many as seven points in the game but a late comeback by the Eagles sent the game to overtime.

Coastal was led by a trio of scorers who combined for 53 of CCU’s 72 points. Junior Warren Gillis led the way with 19 points, four assists and three steals. Gillis was 4-10 from the floor including 2-4 from three. He was nearly perfect at the free throw line hitting 9-10 from the charity stripe. Junior Josh Cameron and freshman Elijah Wilson each chipped in 17 points. Cameron was 7-20 from the field including 1-6 from three while dishing out four assists. Wilson was 6-18 from the field and 1-6 from three. Wilson added five rebounds.

Senior El Hadji Ndieguene led the team in rebounding with eight boards as the Chants won the rebounding battle 39-33. Sophomores Michel Enanga and Badou Diagne each added six rebounds.

A trio of scorers for Winthrop combined for 57 of its 73 points. Keon Moore led all scorers with 26 points while hitting five 3-pointers. Keon Johnson added 19 points with three 3-pointers and Andre Smith had 12 points with three 3-pointers as well. In all the Eagles nailed 12-27 from downtown including seven after the halftime break.

The win improves Winthrop’s record to 9-7 overall and 3-1 in Big South play. The Chants fall to 9-9 overall and 2-2 in Big South action.

CCU shot just 37.3 percent (22-59) from the field including 35.0 percent (7-20) from three. The Chants had success at the free throw line hitting 77.8 percent (21-27) from the line including 11-12 in the second half. Winthrop hit 48.0 percent (24-50) of its shots including 44.4 percent (12-27) from three. The Eagles struggled from the charity stripe hitting just 56.5 percent (13-23) from the line.

The Chants jumped out to an early 8-2 lead over the opening six minutes of the game. CCU would hold onto the lead until the 6:18 mark of the first half when a 3-pointer from Moore put the Eagles up 21-19. The three was the second of three-in-a-row for Moore as he went on a one-man 9-0 run to put the Eagles up five. CCU was able to fight back and tie the game at 25 on a pair of free throws by Gillis. Wilson would put the Chants ahead with a layup with 1:12 left in the half. The Eagles tied it up again on a jumper by Smith with 40 seconds left. CCU held the ball for the final shot but a 3-pointer came up short as both teams headed to the locker room tied at 27.

The Eagles opened the second half with five quick points but Gillis ended the run with a three. The Eagles slowly extended their lead eventually going up by eight points at the 14:13 mark on another 3-pointer by Moore. With the Chants trailing 49-41 with 12:32 remaining, Diagne sparked the Chants offense with a 3-pointer which started an 11-0 run by the Chants. Five different Chants scored in the run which gave CCU a three-point lead. Smith ended the Chants run with a three that tied the game at 52 with 9:34 to play.

CCU slowly began to pull away and eventually built up a 61-55 lead with 6:18 left on the clock. The Eagles began to chip away at CCU’s lead and a Johnson 3-pointer with 1:09 left in the game gave WU its first lead since the 10:02 mark of the second half, 66-65. After a turnover by CCU, Smith was sent to the line for a pair of free throws. He knocked down one of two putting the Eagles up 67-65 with 44 seconds left.  Gillis responded with a turnaround jumper which tied the game with 29 seconds left. After running the clock down, Winthrop took a deep 3-pointer that was off the mark. CCU rebounded the ball and called a timeout. After a review the officials put 1.1 seconds on the clock. A deep pass found Wilson near the Chanticleer bench. He turned and launched a deep 3-pointer which came just inches short of finding the mark as it knocked off the front of the rim ending regulation with the game tied at 67.

The overtime period was back-and-forth. The Eagle got on the board first with a free throw by Moore. Wilson answered for the Chants with a driving layup. Both teams went scoreless for the next two minutes until a 3-pointer from Joab Jerome found the mark for the Eagles putting Winthrop up 71-69. Wilson once again had the answer with a 3-pointer of his own to put CCU back up by one with 1:44 to play. Neither team scored for the next 1:39 until a jumper fell for Winthrop’s James Bourne with five seconds left. CCU called timeout at half court with 2.5 seconds left on the clock. CCU looked to inbound the ball to Ndieguene but WU’s Larry Brown jumped up and intercepted the pass to end CCU’s chances of taking the final shot.

Coastal will return to action this Wednesday, Jan. 22 as the Chants travel to Presbyterian College for another Big South Conference game.

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