The Coastal Carolina men's basketball team beat the VMI Keydets 99-86 at Kimbel Arena in Conway on Saturday. Kingstree's Chad Gray and Desmond Holloway led CCU with 22 points apiece. Danny Nieman added 20 points hitting 4-for-4 three point field goals. The Chanticleers have won 20 consecutive games. They have the nation's second longest division one men's college basketball win streak behind #1 Ohio State. The Buckeyes have won 23 in a row.
Coastal Carolina controlled the boards, outrebounding VMI 54-40. Holloway hauled down 15 rebounds and Sam McLaurin had a double-double with 11 points and a career-high 13 boards.
The Chanticleers now have a record of 22-2 overall and 13-0 in the Big South Conference. Coastal Carolina is unbeaten at home this season. CCU hits the road to play Presbyterian in Clinton, South Carolina next Thursday February 10th at 7 p.m.
POST GAME ANALYSIS FROM SPORTS DIRECTOR RICH CHRAMPANIS WHO WAS AT THE GAME
CCU took care of business with an outstanding first half and some lessons learned from Thursday to do a better job of closing out the game. In crunch time, the Chants made their free throws and held off a late charge from the Keydets to win by 13. CCU better get used to teams playing them until the end no matter what the score is.
PACKING A PUNCH
Coastal has nine players and a walk on so it is vital for someone to step up each game and provide a spark off the bench. On Saturday it was Jon Pack. The 6 foot 11 center had 9 points and 5 rebounds in the first half and established a major presence in the paint. CCU outrebounded VMI 12-3 in the first half on the offensive glass. Last year, I did a story on the Chants in the video game EA Sports College Basketball. In that game, Jon Pack looks like a 7 foot 5 beast that is unstoppable. For a little spurt, Jon Pack played like the video game version of Jon Pack
ROOTING FOR THE GOLDEN GOPHERS
There isn't a lot of fanfare among the players or coaches about this stellar win streak, but after the game, Coach Ellis admitted that he will be rooting for Minnesota and his good friend Tubby Smith to knock off Ohio State on Sunday afternoon. If Tubby obliges, CCU will then own the longest win streak in the nation.
Last week CCU got 8 votes in the AP Top 25 and 6 votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. Look for that number to be on the rise as long as the 20 game win streak continues. Coach Ellis compares CCU to a Boise State or TCU from football that should deserve merit even though they don't play in a power conference. For the first time, Ellis said that he feels his team should be ranked in the top 25. It will be interesting to see how many more votes CCU gets.
ELLIS SHOW PREVIEW
On Sunday's Cliff Ellis Show, Mark Haggard did a breakdown on a pretty remarkable stat. In the final seconds of the first half, CCU has scored with :01 or :00 in nine games. That's nine times that CCU went into the locker room with a nice burst of momentum. Some of it was luck, like Anthony Raffa's half court prayer vs. Radford on New Year's Eve, but the other eight times was mostly execution. On Saturday, Chad Gray scored with :04 left in the first half. Considering the buzzer sounded with another CCU momentum bucket, we're now going with 10 games in which the Chanticleers have ended the half with a clutch bucket. Add in a Kierre Greenwood three to force overtime against Charlotte, a Greenwood floater to beat ECU and a Chad Gray dunk at the buzzer to beat Charleston Southern and you have 13 times that CCU has delievered in crunch time.