CONWAY, S.C. – Senior guard DJ Williams scored a game-high 25 points, as Coastal Carolina scored the last 14 points in the game to earn a come-from-behind 66-59 come-from-behind win over Georgia Southern in a Sun Belt Conference game Thursday night at the HTC Center.
It was a bounce-back win for the Chanticleers, who improved to 16-3 overall and 6-2 in the conference. Georgia Southern, which was led by Alexis Brown’s 15 points, slipped to 6-13 overall and 3-5 in the league.
Williams, who played through foul trouble for most of the contest, scored 10 of her team’s 14 consecutive points to close the game, bringing the Chanticleers back from an 11-point deficit with just over seven minutes remaining. Williams, who put Coastal in front to stay at 60-59 with a pair of free throws at the 1:47 mark, was helped by senior point guard Torrie Cash, who had 12 points, and senior center Naheria Hamilton, who had 10 points to go along with a game-high 14 rebounds, including 11 of those in the second half. It was the sixth double-double of the season for Hamilton, who now has 24 double-doubles in her career.
But the difference was Williams, the leading scorer in conference play at 20 points a game entering the contest. Williams converted five field goals and hit 14-of-16 free throws, including 7-of-8 in the closing two minutes.
“I always thought we were going to win,” said Williams, who played most of the fourth quarter with four fouls. “I tried to do whatever my team needed to win. I wanted to win this one for Kobe,” said the southern California native.
The win seemed improbable for most of the night. Coastal won in spite of hitting just 2-of-19 three-pointers and did not make a shot from beyond the arc until the fourth quarter. The Chanticleers also struggled with 27 turnovers, including 18 in the first half.
CCU had runs of nine and 10-straight points in the first half and held an eight-point lead at 27-18 with 5:30 left in the second quarter. However, things swung the other way with Georgia Southern scoring the last 10 points of the period to take a 38-31 lead at halftime.
Williams had 13 points in the half, even though she missed a large part of the second quarter due to foul trouble. Brown had 11 points to pace the Eagles through two quarters.
Coastal recovered to shoot 19-of-54 from the field for the night (35 percent) and owned a 45-28 rebounding advantage. Senior Caitlin Roche, who is usually a long-range shooting guard, grabbed a career-high six rebounds. Three other players had five apiece in Aja Blount, Zacharyia Esmon, and Williams.
Coastal will return to the HTC Center to host Georgia State at 2 p.m. Saturday before heading to Texas for a pair of conference road games next week against Texas State next Thursday and Texas Arlington next Saturday.
Courtesy – Coastal Carolina Athletics