Longwood falls in Big South opener

FARMVILLE, VA (WWBT) - Anthony Raffa scored a game-high 26 points, including a desperation three-point heave from midcourt at the first-half buzzer, to lead visiting Coastal Carolina University to an 80-72 men's basketball victory against Longwood University Saturday afternoon at Willett Hall in Farmville.  It was the first-ever Big South Conference game in the sport for the Lancers (3-12, 0-1 Big South), who were led by freshmen Nik Brown with 19 points and Michael Kessens with his seventh double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds.  The Chanticleers (6-6, 1-0 Big South) also got a career-high 21 points from Warren Gillis and 19 points from Kierre Greenwood, including a pair of Greenwood free throws before the opening tip after a technical foul was assessed to Longwood for dunking in pre-game warm-ups.  Longwood will play again Wednesday, January 9, hosting Campbell University at 7 p.m.

Coastal Carolina jumped out to an early 10-2 lead at 17:05 as Greenwood scored six quick points, and extended its lead to as many as 10 points, 25-15, with 9:19 left in the opening half behind nine points from Greenwood.  Longwood battled back with eight unanswered points to pull to within 25-23 at 7:22 following an old-fashioned three-point play by freshman Karl Ziegler.  The Lancers were within 36-35 at 3:04 after an offensive putback basket from senior Stephen Shockley, but the Chanticleers took a 45-38 lead at the intermission behind a 9-3 half-ending run that included the half court three-pointer by Raffa.  Greenwood had 15 points at the break, and Raffa had 12 points.

Coastal Carolina took its largest lead of the second half at 51-42 with 17:30 remaining after two baskets by Raffa and a layup by Gillis.  Longwood once-again fought back with a 14-3 run to take a 56-54 lead with 13:44 left following a layup from redshirt-sophomore Jeylani Dublin; the run on the strength of three-pointers by Brown (five points) and junior David Robinson, a Cosby graduate, along with baskets from Ziegler and freshman Lucas Woodhouse.  It was a 60-58 Lancers' lead at 7:25 following a Ziegler layup, and it was tied at 62-62 with 6:16 left after a dunk by Kessens, assisted by Brown.  The Chanticleers, however, answered with six-straight points, four from Gillis, to lead 68-62 at 3:42.  Longwood closed to within two points three times (68-66, 2:27; 71-69, 1:31; 73-71, 1:07), but Greenwood (2-2) and Raffa (2-2) made four free throws over the final 47-seconds to secure the outcome.

Brown scored 19 points to lead Longwood, adding five assists.  Kessens posted his seventh double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Lancers.  Dublin had 10 points and seven rebounds, Robinson finished with nine points, Carey had eight points, and Ziegler contributed seven points.  Woodhouse added five points and a career-high and game-high eight assists.  LU shot 49.2% (29-59) from the field, including 28.6% (6-21) on three-point field goals, and 53.3% (8-15) at the free throw line.

Raffa scored a game-high 26 points for Coastal Carolina.  Gillis had 21 points for the Chanticleers.  Greenwood finished with 19 points, adding six assists, and El Hadji Ndieguene contributed five points and a career-high and game-high 12 rebounds.  CCU shot 52.7% (29-55) from the field, including 66.7% (4-6) on three-pointers, and 75.0% (18-24 at the line … the difference in the game.

Longwood and Coastal Carolina were playing for just the second time in the sport, and the series is now tied at 1-1.

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