The Coastal Carolina men's basketball team beat Winthrop 61-56 tonight in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Earlier in the day, #1 Ohio State lost to Wisconsin ending the Buckeyes 24 game win streak. Now, Coastal Carolina has the longest division one streak at 22 games.
Winthrop had an eight point halftime lead. But the Chants went on a 10-0 second half run. Anthony Raffa came off the bench to lead the Chanticleers with 23 points. Raffa hit 9 of 10 free throws including seven in the final 1:32 of the game. Desmond Holloway who missed the first Winthrop game scored nine points and hauled down 12 rebounds. Forced to foul late in the game, CCU hit nine free throws over the last 1:45 of the game to seal the victory.
Raffa's layup with 7:24 to play in the game put CCU ahead to stay. The victory was Coastal's first in five years at Winthrop Coliseum. The Chanticleers did it with defense, holding the Eagles to under 30 percent shooting from the field.
Coastal Carolina's record improves to 24-2 overall and 15-0 in the Big South Conference. The Chanticleers will enjoy a three game home stretch beginning on Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Gardner-Webb.
Sports Director Rich Chrampanis was in Rock Hill for the game and offers his post-game analysis
Down 8 at the half, you have to go back to the Charleston Classic to find the last time CCU was in that kind of hole at the break. Winthrop hit a three pointer to start the second half and it looked like it was upset city. But the Chants buckled down and put together a solid 10-0 run where everyone got involved. This was the first game that Desmond Holloway was more or less shut down (9 points, but still double digit rebounds). Things were not going Coastal's way for about 21:00, but they figured out a way to get the win.
Anthony Raffa has been the one player that opposing coaches talk about. They expect Holloway and Gray to be the stars that the are, but everyone in the league seems surprised about what Raffa has done. His play in the first half when Coastal was down 8 was critical as the game could have gotten out of hand. He's defined by hustle and grit. His 9 free throws was also a big reason Coastal was able to put away the Eagles.
WILL THEY BE RANKED?
I think it's going to be close. There are pollsters who are not going to give the little guy the benefit of the doubt no matter what they do. It's hard to change the mentality of the old guard. There will always be people who can not give credit to the mid-major no matter what they do. There are just three teams in the nation with perfect conference records (Texas, Princeton and Coastal). The major dose of national exposure helped tremendously. A pollster should look at the fact that this team doesn't really have a bad loss (there's no shame in losing to Georgetown and the College of Charleston). It's symbolic more than anything, but it would be something special for Cliff Ellis to see his team back on the ticker as a Top 25 program.
"This team is making a statement nationwide. There's something wrong with the system if this team is not in the Top 25 come Monday" - Cliff Ellis on if CCU should be ranked in the Top 25