Even before Coastal Carolina released its basketball schedule for this year, I already knew what was going to happen. There was most likely going to be 4 Non-Division 1 opponents on it, as that was the maximum that teams could schedule. They had done this the previous 3 years under Cliff Ellis, so why would this year be any different? People would then complain on how weak our schedule was and why weren't we scheduling better competition? A lot of people are unaware of how hard it is to schedule below The Red Line. The schedule came out and as predicted Covenant, Methodist, Spalding, and Lynchburg were a part of it. I really don't mind how many Non-D1 opponents we have since it just means more home games us season ticket holders and no guarantee games. Coach Ellis will only schedule home and home games with other mid majors like Charleston, The Citadel, and Florida International. He was also able to get a home and home deal with LSU and a 2 for 1 with Clemson.
All of that said, this led to the game against Spalding University, a small private Division 3 school from Louisville. CCU was just coming off what some are saying was the biggest home game in Coastal history against LSU. It was a very emotional game for both the players and the fans as the Chants were able to beat an SEC school. A letdown was almost to be expected, so that's why I'm guessing they scheduled Spalding.
This was the beginning of the holiday season for Coastal. While some of the students had classes on Friday, they had to be out of the dorms by 2pm on Saturday, so many had already left town. This led to only about 500 fans showing up for the game with only a handful of students among them leading to a very subdued atmosphere throughout the entire game.
Other than the fans, there were other things missing from the game. I could tell right away there was a different PA announcer than usual, it was weird hearing a different voice than I've had for the past 4 years. The normal radio play by play guy, that sits two rows in front of us, was missing as he was on his was to Western Carolina for CCU's football game the next day. The pep band was nowhere to be found leading to a very quiet atmosphere during time outs. Even Chauncey, the Chanticleer mascot, was about a foot shorter than usual. Who was this imposter Chauncey? Well a friend of mine noticed the short male cheerleader was missing from the squad, so we were able to solve that mystery pretty quickly.
What wasn't a mystery was what was going to happen in the game. Spalding was coming off a loss to Transylvania, leading me to try to think of a good joke for this review about Transylvania without being too cheesy, but I couldn't come up with much. I spent much of the second half thinking of what I was going to write. The game was dragging on and the officials weren't making it much easier with their quick whistles. A slow parade of free throws and sloppy play amongst the reserves were making the end of the game brutal to watch. I wondered how many games Kyle had to sit through like this and still be able to write the great material for us day in and day out. It really made me appreciate "All of us, each of us" and the great writing everyone has done so far.
CCU ended up with a 87-43 victory and has opened up the season with a 4-0 record for the first time since 1981. While 3 of those games are against Non D-1 opposition, it's been a solid beginning. They are getting solid contributions from everyone as the entire team has been playing their role well. They have a their first road game this Tuesday against Clemson and a chance at another Red Line Upset.
at COASTAL CAROLINA 87, SPALDING 43 11/18/2011
COASTAL CAROLINA 4-0 (0-0) -- S. McLaurin 6-10 0-1 12; C. Gradnigo 7-7 2-4 17; A. Raffa 3-5 6-10 13; K. Greenwood 4-4 1-2 9; J. Griffin 0-2 0-0 0; W. Gillis 4-5 0-0 9; D. Moore 1-3 0-0 2; J. Pack 2-2 4-7 8; C. Ashford 1-1 2-4 4; B. Crawford 1-3 4-4 6; W. Kirkland 3-4 1-2 7; B. Addey 0-1 0-0 0; R. Berry 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-47 20-34 87.
Three-point goals: - , CCU 3-9 (C. Gradnigo 1-1; A. Raffa 1-2; D. Moore 0-2; J. Griffin 0-2; W. Gillis 1-2); Rebounds: , CCU 42 (S. McLaurin 9); Assists: , CCU 15 (C. Gradnigo 4); Total Fouls -- , CCU 18; Fouled Out: -; CCU-None.