Chants play road warriors again with win at Radford

ccuhoops-gillisdribbleFor the third time this season the Coastal Carolina University men’s basketball went on the road and took home a conference victory. The Chanticleers traveled over 300 miles to Radford, Va. and knocked off the Highlanders of Radford University 69-61.

The loss was just the second home loss of the season for the Highlanders while the Chants captured their third conference road victory of the year, one more than the entire 2012-13 season.

The Chants led almost the entire game but the lead never felt comfortable as most the game it was in single-digits. Coastal did not hit a field goal the final six minutes of play but were a perfect 12-of-12 from the free throw line down the stretch to hang on for the victory.

Freshman Elijah Wilson led the way scoring 22 points including 17 in the second half. He was 7-19 from the field including 3-7 from 3-point range. He was also nearly perfect at the free throw line going 5-6. He added seven rebounds and a pair of steals as well.

Junior Warren Gillis added 16 points, two assists and two steals. He was a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line while going 4-8 from the field. Junior Josh Cameron had 14 points on 6-16 shooting.

Senior El Hadji Ndieguene led the rebolunding effort with 10 boards and eight points. The Chants outrebounded the Highlanders 42-35 led by Ndieguene’s 10 and Wilson’s seven. Sophomore Uros Ljeskovic had six rebounds in 13 minutes of action.

Both teams shot below 40 percent from the field. The Chants hit 39.0 percent (23-59) while the Highlanders hit 38.6 percent (22-57). The difference came at the free throw line where the Chants knocked down 19-24 while the Highlanders hit just 9-16.

Coastal jumped out to a 6-0 lead over the opening four minutes of the game. CCU slowly built up its lead to 17-7 at the 9:52 mark of the opening period which marked the largest lead by either team in the first half. With 8:02 left in the first the Highlanders began a 14-4 run to take a 26-25 lead with under three minutes remaining. Wilson ended the run with a three to give the Chants back the lead. A Gillis jumper with 1:22 remaining put the Chants up four but a 5-0 run by the Highlanders to end the half gave RU a 33-32 halftime edge. The run was capped RU’s Ya Ya Anderson’s fourth 3-pointer of the period.

The Chants opened the second half with an 11-4 run which gave CCU a 43-37 lead. The Chants would never trail the rest of the game but the Highlanders were able to tie the game at 43 with 15:21 to play. CCU responded with a  9-0 run to take a 52-43 lead with under 12 minutes to play. Wilson scored five of the nine points in the run. Once again the Highlanders would not go away as they answered with a 13-5 run to cut CCU’s lead to just one with 4:56 to play but Ndieguene ended the run with a pair of free throws which put the Chants back up by three. Ndieguene’s two free throws were the first two of 12 in a row for the Chants as CCU milked the game away at the charity stripe. Ndieguene hit 4-4 in the stretch, Gillis was 4-4 and Wilson went 4-4. RU could not find the offensive spark late as the Chants pulled away for a 69-61 victory.

Coastal will return to action this Wednesday, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. as the Chants host rival Liberty University inside The HTC Center for another Big South Conference match-up.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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