CONWAY – Sophomore guard DeVante’ Jones scored a game-high 20 points and Coastal Carolina led most of the way in earning a well-played 89-75 win over UT Arlington in a Sun Belt Conference game Saturday afternoon at the HTC Center.
Jones led four players in double figures as the Chanticleers improved to 13-12 overall and 6-8 in the league. UT Arlington got 16 points from Radshad Davis, but it wasn’t enough as the Mavericks fell to 10-15 over and 6-8 in the Sun Belt.
Jones got scoring help from frontline players Garrick Green and Tommy Burton, who had 15 points apiece, and freshman center Hosana Kitenge, who tallied a career-high 14 points in just 13 minutes of action. It was Jones, however, who took control down the stretch with nine points in the final five minutes.
UTA fell behind by 16 points early in the second half but rallied to make it a six-point deficit at 68-62 with six minutes remaining. From there, Jones scored five points in a 10-0 run for Coastal and the Chanticleers stayed comfortably in front the rest of the way. “You can’t say enough about DJ (Jones), but I thought it was our inside game that was fantastic today,” said Coastal head coach Cliff Ellis.
It was the sixth time Jones has hit for 20 of more points this season. He also finished with nine rebounds and six assists. He shared the team rebounding high with the 6′8″ Caesar, who started for the third time this season. Meanwhile, the powerful 6′7″ Kitenge came off the bench with his point production. He reached his career-high with four consecutive points, punctuated by a thundering dunk that put Coastal in front, 81-65.
In contrast, Burton got things going early scoring eight of his team’s first 15 as the Chanticleers took a 15-4 lead and stayed in front the rest of the half. Coastal stretched its lead to 15 points at 36-21 when Jones converted 3-of-4 free throws following a double-technical foul on the UT Arlington bench. Jones’ free throw miss was the only FT miss of the first half for CCU, which made 12-of-13 from the charity stripe and led 41-32 at the break.
Coastal finished with 31 makes from the field in 66 attempts (47%) and was a commendable 22-of-26 (84%) from the free throw line. But the stat that caught Ellis’ eye the most was the season-low of just five turnovers. At the other end, Coastal’s strong defense caused 14 turnovers and held Maverick’s leading scorer David Azone to just eight points on 1-of-12 shooting.