CONWAY, SC (WBTW) – Sophomore guard DeVante’ Jones scored 21 points and fellow sophomore guard Ebrima Dibba added a career-high 17 points as Coastal Carolina pulled away in the second half for an easy 93-72 win over Middle Tennessee Monday at the HTC Center. The win evened the Chanticleers’ record at 2-2, while Middle Tennessee slipped to 3-1.
Coastal also got double-figure scoring from junior guard Garrick Green, who had 13 points, and senior guard Tyrell Gumbs-Frater and senior forward Tommy Burton, who had 11 apiece. The Chanticleers outscored the Blue Raiders by 13 points at the free throw line and outrebounded the visiting team by 45-38. Sophomore forward Isaac Hippolyte came off the bench to grab a career high 11 rebounds, while Burton grabbed seven misses.
Middle Tennessee was led by guards CJ Jones and Antonio Green, who had 21 points and 18 points respectively. But the duo only had seven points in the second half, when Coastal ran out to a 25-point lead, at 86-61, with four minutes left in the contest. Green came in averaging 25 points a game, and Middle Tennessee was hitting for 97 points per game.
“We just wore them down in the second half,” said Coastal head coach Cliff Ellis of Jones and Green. “Our inside play was a big factor for us, and I was really pleased with our effort and balanced scoring. They are a fast-paced high-scoring team, and we also like to run.”
Jones got 13 of his points in the first half to lift Coastal to a 46-40 halftime lead. The Chanticleers took the lead for good at 35-34 on a pair of free throws by freshman center Hosana Kitenge. For Middle Tennessee, Green and Jones combined for 32 of the Blue Raiders’ 40 points.
Coastal hit on 31-68 shots (46%) overall, while Middle Tennessee hit on 25-63 attempts (40%). The Blue Raiders had an advantage from long range, hitting 11 three-pointers as compared to seven for the Chanticleers. But Coastal made 24-34 free throws, while Middle Tennessee was just 11-18.
Coastal will next face Utah in a first-round game of the Myrtle Beach Invitational at 7 pm Thursday at the HTC Center, before playing again on Friday and Sunday.
Courtesy: Coastal Carolina Athletics