Game #9-336: Virginia Military Institute Keydets at Coastal Carolina ChanticleersJanuary 19, 2013 11:00 am
When Coastal Carolina's schedule was released, I noticed one oddity in the middle of the conference season. CCU's home game against VMI was scheduled for 11 a.m.. I figured this was some sort of mistake, since noon is usually the earliest start time outside of that early season college hoops marathon or occasionally a Saturday Big East game. I soon came to find out that ESPNU would be picking up the game and I am guessing the early start was an effort to cram as many games on their TV schedule on that Saturday.
I had no problem with the early Saturday tip since I had usually been hitting the road much earlier on Saturday mornings to try to fit in two games. I actually got to sleep three extra hours from the previous weekend when I traveled to Virginia
for a Big South doubleheader. I knew the early start would be a problem for general attendance, especially amongst the students. With classes back in session, all of the students were back, but asking them to go to a game that early after a late Friday night for some might be too much to ask.
That would be a shame since VMI was coming in undefeated in the Big South and atop the North division. The high pace they play at has been tempered over the years, as they are only 16th in tempo this year, whereas they were usually a lock to be first every year. While the Keydets usually produce entertaining games offensively, I still did not get my hopes up too high since these two teams were in a snoozefest last year
The Chants have had a lot of success over VMI in recent years, but the Keydets broke an eight-game losing streak against Coastal and knocked them out of the Big South tournament last season. Coastal Carolina would be looking to be getting a little bit of revenge and also wanted to shake off a loss on the road to Gardner-Webb, where they lost after a putback at the buzzer.
When I got to the HTC Center, I was greeted with the expected lower turnout that I expected, but I knew the early start would not stop Ian McCormick
from being there. Ian greeted me as I made my way to my seat, since he had a seat in the same row. We caught up and talked about how we would be doing the same doubleheader today with a game at Charleston Southern later on.
VMI did not disappoint at the start of the game with their very fast shot selection, which normally consisted of long threes. But they also had a few successful backdoor plays that they did not go to often enough. Coastal was playing along with the torrid pace, as they usually let the other team dictate how the tempo goes in the first part of the game until they make adjustments. The Chants were beating the Keydets at their own game and were up 11-7 at the first media timeout.
VMI responded as they usually do by jacking up more threes, but not many were falling. The same was true for Coastal as they became hesitant on offense and they could not get more than a six-point lead. The early start could have been the reasoning for the shots not falling. I have seen some of those morning games from the college hoops marathon where the offense comes at a premium.
The offense never picked up in the half, as the game started to get worse with turnovers, fouls, and plenty of missed free throws. The half mercifully came to an end with the Chanticleers holding a 27-23 advantage. Ian came over to talk a little bit about the poor effort we had just seen, but I had to cut our conversation short so I could do The Interlude. Unfortunately not many others joined in, but I am sure Ian took enough embarrassing pictures of me attempting to the dance.
I have noticed a continuing trend with Coastal at home where they play a stagnant low-scoring first half then come out and dictate the game in the second. This was the case when the clock ticked past noon as they started off with a 10-2 run, which would later be followed by a three-point play from Charles Ashford to make it 42-28. Rodney Glasgow made everyone in attendance know that no lead is safe against VMI and hit consecutive threes. This kicked off a 12-2 run for VMI that had them down four with 11:00 to go.
The sudden offensive outburst for VMI was short lived, as they went back to bricking threes and missing close shots. D.J. Covington in particular was having a rough go of it picking up a few fouls, tossing up an airball, and missing all of his foul shots. This led to plenty of ribbing from the fans. Meanwhile Coastal had pushed the lead back up to 14 with time running out on the Keydets.
VMI can usually get some late threes to fall to make things more interesting, but it was not happening today. Coastal's lead started growing methodically with solid efforts from Anthony Raffa and Warren Gillis. The Chants ended up outscoring VMI 28-9 in the last 11 minutes and cruised to a 24-point win. It would also be the first time VMI was held to under 50 points in nearly five years.
The Big South rarely gets games on the ESPN family of networks outside of ESPN3 or the conference tournament. While I was glad CCU got the win, it was not exactly the best showcase game for the conference and especially for what VMI can do. Hopefully the next time the Big South gets a showcase game it can be at a time that the players are more accustomed to.
at COASTAL CAROLINA 72, VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE 49
VIRGINIA MILITARY INSTITUTE 9-8 (4-1) -- S. Okoye 6-21 3-5 16; B. Brown 2-7 2-2 7; D. Covington 1-7 0-4 2; R. Glasgow 5-9 2-2 16; N. Gore 1-3 0-0 3; J. Carr 0-0 0-0 0; T. Marshall 0-3 0-1 0; D. Albritton 1-3 0-0 3; P. Anglade 1-1 0-0 2; J. Watson 0-0 0-0 0; D. Absher 0-2 0-0 0; C. Burton 0-0 0-0 0; G. Stephenson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-56 7-14 49.
COASTAL CAROLINA 8-8 (3-2) -- A. Raffa 8-12 3-4 21; K. Greenwood 1-8 0-0 2; W. Gillis 4-13 2-3 12; E. Ndieguene 4-9 1-4 9; B. Diagne 4-9 1-3 9; M. Enanga 3-6 2-2 8; C. Ashford 2-5 1-1 5; J. Daniel 1-1 0-0 2; T. Curtis 0-2 2-4 2; U. Ljeskovic 0-0 0-0 0; B. Addey 1-1 0-0 2; T. James 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-66 12-21 72.
Three-point goals: VMI 8-31 (S. Okoye 1-8; N. Gore 1-3; D. Absher 0-1; R. Glasgow 4-7; B. Brown 1-6; D. Albritton 1-3; T. Marshall 0-3), CCU 4-15 (A. Raffa 2-6; W. Gillis 2-5; B. Diagne 0-3; M. Enanga 0-1); Rebounds: VMI 30 (S. Okoye 12), CCU 44 (B. Diagne 9); Assists: VMI 10 (S. Okoye 4), CCU 16 (K. Greenwood 8); Total Fouls -- VMI 19, CCU 18; Fouled Out: VMI-None; CCU-W. Gillis.