Conway – Tommy Burton and DeVante’ Jones each scored 16 points as Coastal Carolina pulled away in the second half for a 90-60 win over Troy University in a Sun Belt Conference game Thursday night at the HTC Center. The Chanticleers finished with all five starters in double figures and improved their record to 14-14 overall and 7-10 in the league. Meanwhile, Troy dropped to 9-19 overall and 5-12 in the conference, with its fourth consecutive loss.
Burton and Jones got scoring help from Garrick Green, who had 14, while Tim Ceaser and Malik LeGania, had 11 and 10 points respectively. Burton and Jones also led CCU with eight rebounds apiece. Troy’s leading scorer was junior guard Ty Gordon, who came off the bench for 15 points.
“We finally had a good Thursday, and this was a good win to have,” said Coastal head coach Cliff Ellis, who saw his team win its first conference game of the year on a Thursday after seven losses. “Our offensive execution was good. We played inside-out and got some points on the break. But our strength is our inside game right now, and that opens up our outside shooting.”
Jones only had six points in the first half, but his first three-pointer put the Chanticleers ahead to stay, at 18-15 with 10 minutes left in the period. He hit another long-range shot in the midst of an 8-0 run in the last four minutes of the half, giving Coastal a 40-26 advantage at the break.
From there, Green collected five points in Coastal’s 14-5 run to open the second half and the Chanticleers were never challenged in the last 20 minutes. The only suspense was whether or not Jones would register the school’s first-ever triple-double. He was two rebounds and two assists shy of the milestone before sitting out the last eight minutes of the contest, after his team had built a 26-point lead. The Chanticleers stretched their lead to a game-high 32 points, at 78-46, with less than five minutes left.
Coastal showed its inside muscle with six dunks on the night, including two by Ceaser, a 6’8″ freshman forward who has hit for double figures in the last two games. Overall, the Chants were on target most of the night, hitting on 36-60 shots (60 percent). Ceaser and Lagania, a 6’5″ sophomore guard, combined to go 9-11 from the field.
“They now have experience and they are key players for us,” said Ellis, who got points from 11 of his players, including freshman reserve guard Jalen Milner, who made his first field goal of the season with 2:30 left in the game.
Coastal also handily won the rebounding battle, 42-25, and got 50 points in the paint in avenging an 18-point loss to Troy earlier in the season.
Coastal is back in action at 2 p.m. Saturday at home against South Alabama for Senior Day. From there, CCU will be on the road for the final two regular season games; Feb. 29 (Saturday) at Appalachian State) and March 3 (Tuesday) at Louisiana.
Courtesy – Coastal Carolina Athletics