For as long as I can remember I have always been a basketball fan. I will watch any basketball be it college or pro, as I used to be a Detroit Pistons season ticket holder for 5 years when I lived in Michigan. When I moved to Myrtle Beach in 2005 I soon learned that I was in the minority being a NBA fan in South Carolina. This was Gamecock and Tiger country, and this was football country. I'm not saying I'm not a fan of football, I like all sports, I just wanted my basketball fix.
I had already known about Coastal Carolina, but I came to find that getting a basketball ticket wasn't the easiest thing in the world. That wasn't because CCU had a huge following, but the Kimbel Arena can only hold about 1000 people making the 2nd smallest in D-1. Luckily, for the 08-09 season I was able to get season tickets with a co-worker of mine and I have not missed a Chanticleer home game since then.
As is with every college basketball season I was very excited for the first game of the season. CCU was going to face a little known D-3 school Covenant College in what many figured to be a de-facto exhibition game, but before that I had to check out the women's game preceding it. I was very surprised to see that the student section was already packed. I found out that to have a chance to get a student ticket to the LSU game on Tuesday you had to get a wristband before the women's game and stay throughout both games until they could their ticket. This process led to a very tepid atmosphere among the students throughout much of the night as most were there to get the LSU game and sit around and talk with their friends. The CCU women ended up dispatching Southern Virginia fairly easily 83-68, but before we could get ready for the men's game we had to clear the arena and get our men's tickets scanned which did not please much of the older season ticket holders. It was a minor inconvenience, it really doesn't take that long to empty a 1000 seat arena.
The game was essentially over after the under 12 media timeout as Coastal jumped out to an 30-14 highlighted by some great dribble drives and threes from Anthony Raffa. The rest of the 1st half turned into the Jon Pack show as he able to get a double double of 10 points and 11 boards on the very undersized Covenant frontcourt. The looks on people's faces were of astonishment as Pack for the past 3 years is the typical end of the bench tall white guy that the crowd would sarcastically cheer anytime he came into the game or much less even scored. Playing against Covenant College really doesn't prove much, but it was nice to see some signs of improvement. Covenant showed a lot of heart throughout the entire game especially one player with an awesome name of Colton McGriff who lead the night on floor burns. It was really nice to see them come in and play hard because there is nothing worse than watching a blowout when the other team has quit by halftime, so it was nice to see them come out and execute a beautiful Princeton style backdoor cut and layup on the 1st play of the 2nd half. In the end though CCU ended up slowly pulling all while trying out all the newcomers including Louisiana Lafayette transfer Chris Gradnigo who they are depending on to pick up the scoring load this year from the departed Chad Gray and Desmond Holloway.
The final score ended up being a Coastal victory (96-54) as only about 300 or so people were left to hear the final buzzer. It wasn't really starting the season off with a bang for my first game of the season. I was able to get to my car and out of the parking lot in a matter of 5 minutes. I was in a hurry, Game 1 for me was over, but the opening night had just begun. I had to make it to a sports bar to catch out any possible RLU's.
at COASTAL CAROLINA 96, COVENANT 54 11/11/2011
COASTAL CAROLINA 1-0 (0-0) -- A. Raffa 6-10 3-5 17; J. Pack 6-10 0-0 12; K. Greenwood 4-7 1-1 9; C. Gradnigo 4-9 2-2 10; S. McLaurin 4-5 3-7 11; W. Gillis 3-7 0-1 6; D. Moore 2-6 0-0 6; J. Griffin 0-2 0-0 0; B. Crawford 3-5 0-0 7; W. Kirkland 1-3 4-4 6; C. Ashford 2-3 0-0 4; B. Addey 3-4 0-1 6; R. Berry 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 39-72 13-21 96.
Three-point goals: - , CCU 5-16 (C. Gradnigo 0-2; A. Raffa 2-4; D. Moore 2-6; J. Griffin 0-1; K. Greenwood 0-1; B. Crawford 1-1; W. Kirkland 0-1); Rebounds: , CCU 48 (J. Pack 11); Assists: , CCU 18 (K. Greenwood 4); Total Fouls -- , CCU 18; Fouled Out: -; CCU-W. Gillis.