Chants enter Ole Miss game ranked in mid-major top 25

ccuhoops-23dunkWith an 8-2 record, including a win at Southeastern Conference member Auburn, the Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team has surged into the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 Poll, checking in at 21.

The appearance in the poll is the Chanticleers’ first since ranking 25th on Dec. 19, 2011. Coastal reached a program-high in the poll with a third-place ranking on Feb. 14, 2011, while riding a program-record 23-game win streak.

The Chanticleers, who were voted as the preseason favorite to win the Big South, currently own the league’s best record. In addition to sitting atop the league standings one third of the way through the season, the Chants also lead the league in numerous statistical categories and boast three of the league’s top 30 scorers and two of the top 15 rebounders.

Through games played Dec. 15, Coastal leads the league in scoring defense (51.9 ppg), scoring margin (+18.3) and field goal percentage defense (.338), along with offensive (16.00) and defensive (28.50) rebounds per game.

Josh Cameron is the seventh-leading scorer in the league averaging 14.1 points per game. Warren Gillis is 14th in scoring with 12.0 points per outing, while Shivaughn Wiggins (9.6 ppg) ranks 27th. Badou Diagne is the conference’s fourth-leading rebounder at 7.8 caroms per game and Marcus Freeman is 14th averaging 5.5.

In addition to being the top defensive and rebounding team in the Big South, the Chanticleers are ranked among the top-10 in the nation in several categories. Coastal currently boasts the fourth-best field goal percentage defense, limiting opponents to a mere 33.8 shooting percentage. The Chants’ 51.9 points against average is eighth of the 355 NCAA Division I institutions, while their +14.4 rebounding margin is third and 16.0 offensive boards per game is eighth.

Coastal closes out the calendar year with a trio of road games, starting Thursday at Ole Miss. The Chants then travel to Central Arkansas for a Sunday matinee before taking a break for the holiday then returning to open conference play at High Point on New Year’s Eve.

The Chanticleers are 0-2 all-time vs. Ole Miss. The teams first met in 2012 with the Rebels securing a 90-72 home victory. Coastal hosted the Rebels last season, falling 72-70.

In last season’s game Marshall Henderson came off the bench and scored 14 of his game-high 19 points in the second half and reserve forward Anthony Perez made two late free throws as the University of Mississippi survived a late scare to hang on for a 72-70 win. Thursday’s game will conclude a 2-for-1 home-and home series between the teams.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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