Chants snuff out Flames to stay perfect in league play

ccuhoops-35blockCoastal Carolina used an 18-4 run through the final minutes of the first half to seize a double-digit lead it would not surrender as the Chanticleer rolled to a 69-54 win over rival Liberty in Big South Conference action Saturday evening at the Vines Center.

Senior Warren Gillis led the Chanticleers’ efforts with a season-high 20 points, while Josh Cameron added 12 and Elijah Wilson chipped in 11. Gillis did the bulk of his scoring in the first half as he entered the intermission with 15 points, including 10 during CCU’s game-clinching run.

Coastal, which improved to 13-3 overall and 4-0 in conference play, received a balanced effort on the boards as the Chants outrebounded the Flames 45-43. Colton Ray-St Cyr and Marcus Freeman each grabbed a team-high seven caroms in their 11 minutes off the bench, while Badou Diagne grabbed six rebounds.

Liberty (6-11, 0-4 Big South) were led offensively by Theo Johnson’s nine points as no Flame reached double-figures. It marked the first time in recorded Chanticleer history that no opposing player reached the 10-point plateau.

Coastal trailed Liberty 20-17 with 10:26 remaining before the break after LU’s Ethan Layer sank the Flames fourth 3-pointer of the opening 20 minutes. However, Coastal rallied to piece together a 16-2 run over the ensuing 6:31 to take an 11-point lead at 33-22. Coastal’s scoring streak was ignited by plays on the defensive end where the Chants forced five Flame turnovers and kept the home team off the scoreboard for seven-plus minutes.

Colton Ray-St Cyr scored five of the first six points during the 16-2 run with a knifing layup after a steal at mid-court followed by a 3-pointer from the right wing. Gillis then scored the 10 of his 15 first-half points to end the run. The crafty veteran guard first scored on a mid-range jumper before connecting on a three from the right side. He then knocked down a floater in the lane before capitalizing on his third 3-pointer, giving Coastal the 33-22 lead with 2:11 showing on the first-half clock.

LU’s David Andoh cut the Chants’ lead to nine with his mid-range jumper, but Wilson answered with his 10th and 11th points of the half to send the black and teal-clad Chanticleers into the locker room with the 35-24 lead.

Continuing to pull away in the second half, CCU later got a pair of layups by Cameron just ahead the five minute mark of the half to take a game-high 20-point lead (59-39) and the Chants cruised the rest of the way.

Coastal stays on the road and travels to Campbell for an 8:00 p.m. tip on Monday. The game will be carried live on the American Sports Network and will air on MASN nationally and on 60 other carriers throughout the country, including WPDE-2 in the Myrtle Beach area.

Photo courtesy of LU Athletics

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