MOBILE, Ala. – Four players reached double digits for Coastal Carolina, but it was not enough in a hard-fought double-overtime loss to South Alabama by a final 84-77 count.
David Kralj, scored 12 points, but none more important than his three with less than a second left in regulation to send the game into overtime even at 68. CCU had trailed by five (68-63) with less than nine seconds left.
Ajay Sanders was able to score from around the basket and was fouled. He missed the ensuing free throw, but CCU retained possession as two USA players fumbled the ball out of bounds with five seconds left. That’s when Kralj was able to get free on the right wing and drained the three to send the game into overtime.
Both teams managed five points in the first overtime, but the home-standing Jaguars outscored CCU 11-4 in the second overtime period to pull out the victory.
Zac Cuthbertson and Ajay Sanders joined Kralj with 12 points and Tommy Burton came off the bench to score 11 points.
CCU out rebounded USA 53-38 with Ajay Sanders grabbing a team, game and career-high 12 rebounds. Cuthberton barely missed another double-double with nine rebounds. Isaac Hippolyte came off the bench to grab a career-high eight boards.
USA had five players reach double digits led by Trhae Mitchell’s game-high 22 points. He also completed a double-double with 11 rebounds.
Kory Holden added 15 points with Josh Ajayi (13), Rodrick Sikes (12) and R.J. Kelly (10) also joining Mitchell in double digits.
CCU shot 42 percent (31-74) from the field and hit six of its 15 three-point field goals for 40 percent. Free throws were again a problem for the Chants only hitting nine of their 18 attempts.
USA shot 43 percent (28-65) from the field and hit 10 of its 32 threes for 31 percent. USA was able to get to the free throw line a lot more than CCU, attempting 29 free throws and hitting 18.
The Jags were able to take advantage of CCU’s season-high 20 turnovers, scoring 28 points off those turnovers. CCU scored 46 points in the paint compared to 30 for USA and also outscored USA 17-13 in second chance points and 24-11 in points off the bench.
CCU fought back from an early 10-0 deficit to start the game and led at halftime 32-29.
The Chants did not make it easy for themselves as they committed nine turnovers in the opening 20 minutes which the Jaguars turned into 15 points.
CCU did shoot 47 percent (14-30) in the first half with Sanders and Tyrell Gumbs-Frater leading the way with six points each.
Sanders had seven first-half rebounds to lead CCU as the Chanticleers out rebounded USA 22-12.
South Alabama hit three three-point field goals with the shot clock winding down and hit six in the first half. Mitchell had nine points and Sikes added seven to lead the Jags offense.
The loss for the Chants was another close loss as among the seven losses this season, CCU has lost by a total of 39 points or just over five points per loss.