Coastal topped by Winthrop in BSC title game rematch

ccuhoops-23layupIn a rematch of the 2014 Big South Tournament championship game, Winthrop made six of its final eight field goals and nine free throws down the stretch to hand Coastal Carolina a 75-68 loss Wednesday evening inside The HTC Center.

Keon Moore led the Eagles with 22 points, while Tevin Prescott chipped in 11. Winthrop shot 47.4 percent for the game and connected on eight 3-pointers.

Shivaughn Wiggins paced a trio of Chanticleers with 18 points. Warren Gillis and Badou Diagne each finished with 13. Diagne was also the game’s leading rebounder with nine. Coastal finished the night shooting 41.1 percent, but made up ground on Winthrop at the free-throw line, making 18 at the charity stripe compared to the Eagles’ 16 total attempts.

Coastal (15-6, 6-3 Big South) and Winthrop (11-9, 6-3 Big South) traded points over the opening 12 minutes of the second half, leaving the Eagles with a 54-51 advantage at the 8:35 mark. Gillis then gave the Chants momentum with a baseline jumper after a pump fake. Coastal then forced turnovers on Winthrop’s next two possession and capitalized with layups after each, pushing the Chants ahead 57-54.

Winthrop’s Prescott then knocked down a jumper and after a defensive rebound, Eagle Andre Smith connected on the 3-pointer from the wing. Gillis responded with a shot off the glass, tying the game for the 10th time at 59-59 with 5:39 to play. But, Smith immediately put the visitors back up by three with his second triple in as many trips down the floor.

The Chants would only muster two points over the next 3:58 as Winthrop built a 68-61 lead. After a pair of foul shots by Josh Cameron broke CCU’s scoring drought, the Chants attempted to extend the game at the foul line. However, the strategy would not prove effective as the Eagles made nine of their final 11 attempts to secure the seven-point victory.

Despite battling spurts of inconsistent shooting throughout the opening 20 minutes of play, Coastal entered halftime trailing Winthrop by a single point at 35-34. The Eagles made five more shots, including three more threes, in the first half than Coastal. However, the Chants used its advantage at the free-throw line, making 12-of-14 attempts while Winthrop failed to register an attempt, to keep the game close.

Coastal’s Diagne stepped out and knocked down his 13th 3-pointer of the season to break a 29-29 tie with 2:50 to go before the half. But Winthrop’s Moore and Derrick Henry responded with treys of their own to push the Eagles out to a 35-32 lead. CCU’s Wiggins scored the final points of the half on his fourth and fifth free throws of the game to provide the 35-34 halftime score.

The Chanticleers start their second trip through Big South play Saturday at Gardner-Webb. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. at the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ Paul Porter Arena.

Photo courtesy of CCU Athletics

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