CONWAY, S.C. – Coastal Carolina’s star, DeVante’ Jones, shined the brightest when it counted the most, scoring 24 of his game-high 30 points in the second half to lead the Chanticleers to a come-from-behind 90-81 win over Sun Belt Conference foe Troy on Friday night at the HTC Center. Jones hit a pair of free throws to put Coastal in front to stay at 80-78 with two minutes remaining, and then hit six more three throws down the stretch to lift Coastal to a 10-3 overall record and a 4-2 mark in league play. Coastal is now 10-1 at home, with three consecutive wins.
Jones was one of five in double figures for the Chanticleers. The others were guard Tyrik Dixon, who had all of his 12 points in the first half. Ebrima Dibba and little-used reserves Ahmard Harvey and Kevin Williamson hit for 10 points apiece. Freshman guard Kam Woods scored 21 points to pace Troy, which slipped to 6-8 overall and 1-4 in the Sun Belt.
“He’s pretty good, said head coach Cliff Ellis in understating the play of Jones, a junior guard who averages more than 22 points a game. “But we also have to applaud the play of Harvey and Williamson. They will make us better, and we just said, ‘now’s the time.”
Harvey tied his career high with 10 points, while Williamson shattered his best effort by hitting double figures. They each played roughly half the game, after averaging just a few minutes per contest this season.
Coastal took the lead for the first time when Harvey made a layup to put the Chants in front 58-57 midway through the second half. From there, Jones was the key figure in keeping Coastal in front for the next 10 minutes. His 3-pointer at the 7-minute mark gave Coastal at 72-64 advantage, its biggest lead until the closing seconds.
Troy’s top returning scorer, Zay Williams, a junior forward, made a free throw to even the score at 78-78 with 2:20 still to play. And from there, Jones went to work. He made 8-of-8 free throws and assisted on another basket in a 10-0 run that put Coastal in front 88-78.
On the night, Jones was 9-of-11 from the field and a perfect 8-of-8 from the foul line. He also had eight rebounds, six assists and three steals. Harvey and Williamson also shot well, each making at least half of their shots.
Troy came out on fire, hitting its first four shots and shocking Coastal by taking a 13-0 lead. The Chanticleers then spent the rest of the first half trying to climb back into the fray. Troy had its biggest lead at 30-16 and then the momentum swung in favor of the home team. Dixon got things started with a couple of buckets and Dibba finished the 19-5 run with a couple of inside baskets that tied the game at 35-35 with 2:14 remaining in the period. Less than a minute later, Woods hit his fourth 3-pointer of the half and Troy was back in front. Woods had 14 points at the break and the Trojans led, 43-36.
The Chants tightened up their defense in the second half, holding Troy to just four more made 3-pointers (Troy made eight in the first half). And they committed just two turnovers.
Coastal will face Troy for the second game of the weekend doubleheader at the HTC Center at 4 p.m. Saturday. The Chanticleers will then hit the road for five consecutive Sun Belts games before returning home on Feb. 13 to host Appalachian State.
Courtesy – Coastal Carolina Athletics