CONWAY, S.C. – Sophomore forward Essam Mostafa scored a team-high 24 points and junior guard Ebrima Dibba made two free throws with one second remaining to lift Coastal Carolina to a thrilling 60-59 win over Wofford Sunday afternoon at the HTC Center.
Mostafa, who scored 16 of his points in the second half, also had a team-high 13 rebounds to pick up his fourth double-double on the year. Dibba was the only other Chanticleer to hit double figures, with 12 points. Coastal is now 5-3 on the season, while Wofford slipped to 7-4.
After BJ Mack hit a three-pointer to give Wofford a 59-56 lead with a minute to play, Mostafa and Dibba hit 4-of-4 free throws to pull out the come-from-behind win. Moistafa hit a pair of free throws with 39 seconds left and then Dibba sank a pair of free throws with :01 second left on the clock. Wofford’s Max Klesmit got off a half-court shot that rolled around the rim and out as time expired.
“We found a way to win it,” said head coach Cliff Ellis. “I told our team that when he makes these free throws, don’t let your guard down. Don’t celebrate. Our defense and Essam’s offense gave us a chance to win today. Those three-point shots from Wofford were just killers, but that was a gutsy win for us.”
The contest was close from the start, as there were four ties and seven lead changes in the first half, and neither team held more than a five-point advantage. Wofford went up by five, at 15-10, on three-pointer by Ryan Larson.
From there, the lead went back-and-forth before Rudi Williams scored on a layup to give the Chanticleers a 29-27 advantage at halftime.
Wofford got eight of its nine baskets in the first 20 minutes from three-point range, with Austin Patterson making four of those long-range baskets. The Chants, meanwhile, got 18 of their points in the paint, with Mostafa leading the way with eight points.
Coastal broke on top with a 10-0 run early in the second half, and took a 41-31 lead, and when Mostafa made a couple free throws at the mid-way point of the second half, the Chants were in front by 15, their largest margin of the afternoon.
But the Terriers fought back with a 15-0 run as Klesmit and Isaiah Bigelow had six points apiece on the run, making the score 51-51 with five minutes remaining, setting the stage for an exciting stretch run where neither team held more than a three-point advantage.
Coastal finished shooting nearly 50 percent from the field, but only made eight of its 14 free throws. The Chanticleers struggled to make only four three-pointers as well. In contrast, Wofford made 13 three-pointers out of its 19 field goals, but only 5-of-19 in the second half. Coastal won the rebounding battle, 38-29, with Mostafa grabbing eight of his 13 boards in the second half.
Coastal will return to action for back-to-back home contests this week: first hosting Methodist at 7 p.m. Wednesday and then taking on Regent at 4 p.m. Thursday. The Chanticleers will end the pre-holiday portion of the schedule with a road game at MTSU, Dec. 19, at 3 p.m. in Murfreesboro, Tenn.
Courtesy – Coastal Carolina Athletics