Shorthanded Chants battle to buzzer at Old Dominion

Despite playing with only eight players in uniform, Coastal Carolina gave a valiant effort in the first round of the CIT on Tuesday night before suffering a 68-66 loss to Old Dominion.

Coastal’s turbulent season came to a close end as Anthony Raffa’s potential game-winning 3-point attempt was off the mark at the buzzer.

The defeat came despite a gutsy performance by the short-handed Chanticleers (19-12), who were without three seniors who played in the Chants’ last game almost two weeks ago.

Dexter Moore stayed behind to focus on academics and Jordan Griffin had to return to Kentucky to attend to a family matter.

The Chants managed to lead or keep it close for most of the game. Old Dominion took its largest lead of the first half at eight points, 37-29. But Coastal closed with a 7-0 run, capped by Sam McLaurin’s tip-in at the buzzer to cut the deficit to 37-36 at the half.

The Chants stretched it into a 12-0 run to open the second half, grabbing their largest lead of the game at 41-37.

Coastal led 53-49 midway through the second half when the Monarchs went on a 13-0 run to grab their largest lead of the game at 62-53 with 7 minutes remaining.

The Chants appeared out of gas but somehow managed to go on a 13-2 run of their own, capped on a basket by McLaurin for a 66-65 lead with just under  2 minutes remaining.

But ODU freshman Richard Ross, who scored a season-high 19 points, made a tip-in and a free throw in the final seconds, forcing Raffa’s last try to win it at the buzzer.

McLaurin and Raffa led the Chants with 20 and 17 points, respectively, and five rebounds apiece, but it was a total team effort that kept Coastal close to the very end.

Freshman Warren Gillis scored nine points for Coastal, including a late 3 to keep the Chants in it, and Bisi Addey had a solid showing in the paint, scoring six points and pulling down eight boards.

ODU’s Donte Hill scored 14 points and Ross came off the bench for a game-high 19 points. There were nine leads changes and three ties, but the key stat came on the boards, with ODU outrebounding Coastal by a 43-33 margin.

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