Chants top Bears, advance to host CIT’s second round

ccuhoops-5mercerTwo 3-pointers by Jaylen Shaw and another by Elijah Wilson in the middle stages of the second half sparked Coastal Carolina to a 65-57 win over Mercer in the first round of the 2016 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament.

Coastal will host the second round of the CIT against a to-be-determined on Saturday at 2 p.m. The win, which was the first for the Chanticleer program in a postseason tournament, improved Coastal to 19-11 on the season, while Mercer’s season ends at 19-15.

Wilson led all scorers with 18 points, which included a trio of 3-pointers. Shaw finished with 16 points on six makes, including three triples. Badou Diagne, who returned to the court after missing the previous three games with injury, nearly double-doubled with nine points and eight rebounds.

Demetre Rivers paced the Mercer offense with 16 points. Joining Rivers in double-figures was Lawrence Brown and Stephon Jelks with 13 and 10 points, respectively.

Coastal closed the game shooting 35.5 percent from the floor (22-62) and 77.8 percent from the line (14-18). Mercer made 36.1 percent of its attempts (22-61) and all nine of its free throws. Coastal became just the third team to outrebound the Bears this season, controlling the boards 43-39.

Shaw provided the game’s eighth tie at 36-36 with a bucket inside at the 12:04 mark of the second half. A few possessions later Shaw gave Coastal its first lead of the second half with a triple at the top of the arc. Mercer’s Jelks answered with a basket in the paint on the Bears’ ensuing possession. Shaw then responded CCU’s next time down the floor with a step-back three from the top of the arc. After a Mercer score, Wilson hit his second three of the game from the right corner, giving the Chants a 45-40 lead and forcing a Mercer timeout with 8:04 to go.

Wilson scored on jumper on Coastal’s next possession after the timeout, creating a seven-point lead at 47-40. Coastal stretched the lead to as many as nine over the next six minutes with Wilson scoring after stealing a Mercer inbound pass to make the score 60-51 with 2:20 to play.

Shivaughn Wiggins and Wilson combined to make five of six free throws down the stretch to secure the 65-57 Chanticleer win.

The first half played as an offensive struggle as the teams combined to make only 20-of-59 attempts. Mercer led 5-0 before Coastal scored seven straight to take its first advantage of the contest. The sides exchanged the lead five more times in the half with Mercer taking a 26-25 lead into the intermission.

Tickets for the game are $15 for reserved Teal seats, $12 for reserved Bronze section seats, $10 for general admission and $8 for youth (18 and under). All CCU students will be admitted free of charge, compliments of Coastal Carolina University. Tickets can be purchased at the following link: https://www.ticketreturn.com/prod2/Team.asp?SponsorID=8725

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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