CONWAY, S.C. (AP) - Warren Gillis had 22 points and Josh Cameron added 19 to lift Coastal Carolina to the Big South Conference tournament title and its first NCAA trip in 21 years with a 76-61 victory over Winthrop on Sunday.
It was the first conference tournament title for Chanticleers coach Cliff Ellis in 39 years of coaching at four schools. He joins nine others who have led four schools to the NCAA tournament, trailing the mark of five set last season by Oklahoma's Lon Kruger.
Coastal Carolina (21-12) took control with 12-0 first-half run, eventually building the lead to 57-39 midway through the second half.
Winthrop (20-13) cut the lead to 61-52 on Keon Johnson's free throw with 4:36 left, but got no closer. Keon Moore led Winthrop with 19 points before fouling out.
Fans rushed the court at the HTC Center on Coastal's campus when it was over, cheering their team's first league title since 1993.
Programming note: The Cliff Ellis basketball show featuring the Coastal Carolina head coach will air Sunday night, March 9 at 11:30 p.m. on WPDE NewsChannel 15.