Game #9-283: Presbyterian Blue Hose at Coastal Carolina ChanticleersJanuary 9, 2013 7:00 pm
This non-conference season has seen its fair share of highlights with some great games and a good amount of Red Line Upsets. The good moments are what really stick with us the most, but in reality they can come few and far between. The amount of RLUs is just over 16
percent this year, so like it is with every other year, there have been plenty of guarantee game blowouts out there. Some of the matchups have been brutal to watch, especially when we are talking about the numerous scheduled non-Division I games.
The atmosphere will always be hit and miss during the non-conference season as well. Neutral-site tournaments can leave arenas with only a few people in the stands while holiday breaks slash into attendance figures and can diminish the experience of most games.
As January rolls around though, we start to see the conference season crank into full swing. The Big South was one of the last conferences below the Red Line to start league play because it had cut back to a 16-game slate. I had seen a few SoCon conference games so far this year, and will continue to do so. But a lot of my attention will be focused on the Big South schools for the rest of the season.
The one part that disappoints me is that the regular-season champion will not get the huge reward of hosting the conference tournament this year as Coastal Carolina will serve as the host for the next three years. While I am glad the tournament is so close to home for me, I still think it was a worthy reward for the regular-season champion in the past.
I missed out on getting to see the first set of Big South games this Saturday as 5-of-the-6 road teams ended up up getting wins. Road wins are always important, no matter what the conference is or who the competition might be. The Chanticleers had plenty of trouble with Longwood, but were able to come out of Farmville with a league victory.
Presbyterian is in its first year of being eligible for the Big South Tournament, but the season has not gone too well for Greg Nibert's squad. The three wins they had are all against non-DI schools while VMI was able to beat the Blue Hose on Saturday without much trouble. PC is ranked extremely low in all of the computer rankings, but I did see them play what was probably their best game in an OT loss to Jacksonville St
The Blue Hose's very slow pace is conducive to creating close games. It is how Presbyterian has surprised a few teams throughout the years and that strategy worked well enough for them to beat Cincinnati
last year. With the Chanticleers' inconsistencies this year, I could easily see Presbyterian having a chance of lulling them into their type of game.
While classes had not yet started back up at Coastal Carolina, there was still a good contingent of students that made it to the HTC Center. The band was smaller than usual, but there were enough members to add to the atmosphere to go along with the returning cheerleaders and mascot.
From the tip, it was easy to tell that Presbyterian was doing exactly what I thought they would be doing and dictating the pace. PC was up 3-2 at the first media timeout and there were plenty of missed shots late in the shot clock.
This slog type of game can be a drain on the fans, but one person that is always excited at a Blue Hose game is Coach Nibert. When I saw him during the game against Jacksonville State, you could clearly hear most of his screaming, swearing and ranting because there were only a few hundred people in attendance. Even with about 1,500 more people and a student section cheering, I could still hear Nibert bellowing out with his patented wide-eyed, psychotic look he usually gives.
Coach Nibert had plenty to be mad about as the Presbyterian defense was stopping any sort of offensive flow for Coastal, but they could not capitalize by gaining a larger lead. Presbyterian was up 15-9, but Jordan Downing was the only one to be able to sink a few shots as he had 10 of those points. CCU started to show some life when they started attacking the paint where PC has a few big bodies, but not much depth. Coastal cut back into the lead and took it back in the last few seconds after Anthony Raffa hit a three to make it 22-21 at the half.
At the half, I strolled down to the restroom and walked along the concourse until I overheard a familiar song. "Interlude" by Attack Attack! was playing as it had been at halftime of every other home game. I had known all about Northern Iowa's famous Interlude Dance
, but it obviously went over the heads of those in attendance at all the previous home games.
That was until I walked back in the arena and they had Chauncey the Chanticleer on the video board teaching the dance to the crowd. A few people had joined in and I did too for a few seconds, but could not get my friend Justin to join in. I hope they keep it a tradition though, because if I can provide any of the other spectators with some amusement of a dopey guy with no rhythm trying to dance, then I am definitely doing it.
That was the only moment of excitement the crowd had seen so far with the game at such a boring pace much of the first half. Coastal gave its home fans a jolt of excitement by scoring the first seven points of the second half. Coach Nibert wisely slowed the game down using two of his timeouts right up against the media timeout, squashing any possible momentum and making two minutes of game time last about 10-to-15. The Blue Hose managed to keep the game slow and sloppy as it was 34-30 with 11 minutes to go. The fouls were piling up for Presbyterian though, and William Truss and Khalid Mutakabbir both had to sit with four fouls.
Coastal used the foul trouble to their advantage due to the lack of depth for the Blue Hose. The Chants out-rebounded Presbyterian 21-7 in the second half with a lot of them coming from El Hadji Ndieguene. Ndieguene was gaining confidence in his offense as well. When Truss was put back into the game with his four fouls, Ndieguene yelled for the ball. Truss had to play looser than usually, but Ndieguene made him pay with three straight buckets against him. Warren Gillis sank a three after that and the game was essentially over at 50-33 with five minutes to go. I have seen bigger comebacks than that, but PC is not built to play in catch-up mode.
Presbyterian would end up falling 61-43 and will look to bounce back at home against a Campbell team that has lost its star player Darren White for the season. The Blue Hose definitely have a chance to bounce back against a Campbell team that has struggled on the road at times.
The Chanticleers move to 2-0 on the season and have a winnable road game Saturday against Liberty. It ended up being an easy win late for them, but the struggles are still there. While it was not an exciting game, I was glad the real season was finally underway.
at COASTAL CAROLINA 61, PRESBYTERIAN 43
PRESBYTERIAN 3-13 (0-2) -- J. Clyburn 0-3 2-4 2; J. Downing 6-12 3-3 19; E. Washington 1-5 0-0 3; K. Mutakabbir 4-9 0-0 11; W. Truss 2-5 1-2 5; R. Hargrave 1-6 0-0 3; A. Anderson 0-0 0-0 0; R. McTavish 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-40 6-9 43.
COASTAL CAROLINA 7-6 (2-0) -- E. Ndieguene 5-9 3-4 13; W. Gillis 3-7 1-2 8; A. Raffa 3-14 4-4 12; K. Greenwood 3-9 5-5 11; B. Diagne 4-7 0-2 10; M. Enanga 1-4 1-2 3; U. Ljeskovic 1-3 0-0 2; C. Ashford 1-1 0-0 2; T. Curtis 0-0 0-0 0; T. James 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-54 14-19 61.
Three-point goals: PRES 9-21 (R. Hargrave 1-4; K. Mutakabbir 3-8; J. Downing 4-5; W. Truss 0-1; E. Washington 1-3), CCU 5-15 (A. Raffa 2-4; K. Greenwood 0-1; W. Gillis 1-4; B. Diagne 2-4; M. Enanga 0-2); Rebounds: PRES 20 (J. Clyburn 6), CCU 36 (E. Ndieguene 14); Assists: PRES 6 (E. Washington 3), CCU 11 (K. Greenwood 4); Total Fouls -- PRES 20, CCU 13; Fouled Out: PRES-W. Truss; CCU-None.