Conway, SC - It was senior day and it was a senior-to-senior connection that led Coastal Carolina to a 72-70 victory over South Alabama in the Chanticleers final regular season home game of the year.
Two free throws from USA's Rodrick Sikes with eight seconds left tied the game at 70, setting the stage for the final seconds. Following the free throws, Jaylen Shaw was able to drive the ball down the lane and as three Jaguars converged on him, was able to find a streaking Demario Beck for the game winner with just 1.3 seconds left in the game.
Beck was fouled on the play, but following the free throw attempt, USA's (14-13, 7-7 Sun Belt) final full-court shot was off mark and the Chants escaped with the narrow win.
Artur Labinowicz finished the game with 17 points to lead four Chants in double digits. Beck, who played most of his minutes with four fouls, finished with 16 points and a team-high seven rebounds. He hit seven of his 10 field goals.
Zac Cuthbertson was also big in the second half and finished with 13 points and four rebounds. It was the surprise scoring of Tyrell Gumbs-Frater that helped CCU on the offensive end finishing the game with a career-high 11 points, which was also the first time he had reached double digits.
While it was not his scoring that led the Chants, it was Shaw's distribution of the ball that helped lead CCU. He finished with nine points, but he had 10 assists, tying his career-high he set earlier this season against Wake Forest. Shaw also had four rebounds and a game-high four steals, which also tied his career-high.
CCU (12-16, 6-9 Sun Belt) did manage to shoot 46.2 percent in the second half, after a weak first half shooting performance. They finished the game shooting 40.4 percent (21-52) from the field. CCU shot 17 three point field goals, but only hit five of them for 29 percent.
CCU was able to shoot a season-high 36 free throws, but struggled there hitting 25 for 69 percent.
Sikes led the visiting Jags with a game-high 21 points as USA finished the game shooting 38 percent (23-60) from the field. They did hit 11 threes, but took 30 shots for 37 percent. USA struggled at the free throw line hitting 13 of its 23 attempts for 57 percent.
Josh Ajayi finished the game with 13 points and a game-high nine rebounds, while Nick Davis and Herb McGee both finished with 12 points.
The visitors went into the locker room with a 30-27 lead as they outscored CCU 19-11 over the final three minutes of the opening half.
Sikes had eight and Ajayi had seven to lead the Jags. USA shot 33 percent in the opening half and hit four of 14 three point field goals for 29 percent. They also hit four of their six free throws.
Gumbs-Frater came off the bench to score 11 first-half points and Beck added seven.
CCU shot 35 percent in the opening half and out rebounded USA 22-21. Nine CCU turnovers led to seven points for South Alabama.