CONWAY, S.C. – Angie Juste-Jean scored a career-high 25 points and Aja Blount added 16, all in the second half, as Coastal Carolina came from behind in the final minute to earn a 72-69 win over Georgia Southern in a Sun Belt Conference game Thursday night at the HTC Center.
With the win, the Chants moved to 11-2 overall on the year, including 9-1 at home, and 1-1 in the conference.
The Chanticleers never led by more than three points and trailed 69-66 before hitting 6-of-6 free throws in the final 41 seconds to close the scoring in the win. Fittingly, Blount hit four free throws and Juste-Jean made a pair. Blount’s final two shots from the charity stripe came with four seconds remaining before Terren Ward launched a three-point attempt from the left-wing at the buzzer that fell short.
Juste-Jean, a 5’8″ freshman guard, also grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds to collect her second-straight double-double on the season.
Taya Gibson had 16 points and Simone James added 15 for Georgia Southern, which fell to 10-4 overall and 1-1 in the conference. Ward, the team’s leading scorer at 13 points a game, was held to just seven points on the evening.
Juste-Jean, a Montreal, Quebec native, single-handedly kept the Chanticleers in the game in the first half. She scored eight of her team’s first 14 points and help trim an early 10-point deficit to just two with a drive for a layup late in the first quarter. From that point, the Chants kept it close the rest of the half.
Juste-Jean, who had 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting in the first half, hit a three-pointer late in the second quarter to pull in front at 39-37. However, the Eagles closed the period on a 5-1 run to take a 42-40 lead at the break.
After trailing by 10 points in the first half, Coastal trailed by margins of six, four, and three in the second half, but each time the Chants answered with runs of 7-0, 7-0, and 6-0 to regain their advantage. In all, there were seven lead changes while neither team led by more than six after the early going.
Coastal shot a respectable 25-of-61 from the field, but notably made 7-of-8 free throws in the final quarter, when it mattered most. Coastal also used its strong front line to hold a sizable rebounding advantage at 52-32 with support for Juste-Jean coming from Janeen Camp and Blount, who had a career-high 16 and seven rebounds, respectively.
Camp also had seven points, as did Arin Freeman, who got all of her points in the second half, including five straight in a 7-0 run that launched Coastal back in front at 49-46 lead midway through the third quarter. Blount was the key figure in Coastal’s next 7-0 run that put the Chants in front 64-61 with three minutes left in the contest.
After Georgia Southern’s Ward hit a pair of free throws to put the Eagles in front 69-66 with a minute remaining, Blount and Juste-Jean pulled Coastal across the finish line.
Coastal Carolina will return to action at the HTC Center on Saturday, Jan. 8, at 2 p.m. ET when the Chants host Georgia State.
Courtesy – Coastal Carolina Athletics