CONWAY, SC (COURTESY GOCCUSPORTS.COM) — All five starters for Coastal Carolina reached double digits as the Chanticleers moved into the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) three-game championship series with an 89-78 victory over Illinois Chicago.
Jaylen Shaw led the Chants scoring efforts with 22 points on seven-of-11 shooting. Demario Beck was not far behind with 18 points, and also recorded his ninth double-double of the season with a game-high 10 rebounds.
CCU (19-17) shot 44 percent from the field, but it was the second half which saw them shoot over 55 percent (16-29) that helped push their lead out to 71-50 with seven minutes left in the game.
UIC (17-19) would not go away and cut the lead to 81-71 with a little over a minute remaining, but CCU hit five of its last six free throws to keep the visitors from getting any closer.
The Chants set single-season highs with 16 steals and 26 made free throws.
CCU grabbed 41 rebounds compared to the visitors 29. Following Beck’s 10, Labinowicz and Ray-St Cyr had six. 16 of those rebounds were on the offensive end and led to 22 second-chance points.
Shaw had four assists and four steals as CCU forced 23 turnovers which led to 24 points off turnovers.
CCU hit 26 of its 31 free throws for 84 percent and was seven-of-18 from beyond the three-point line for 39 percent.
UIC stayed in the game by virtue of knocking down 11 of its 25 three point attempts (44%). The Flames ended the game shooting an even 50 percent (28-56) from the field and hit 11 of its 18 free throws.
Three Flames hit double digits with Tarkus Ferguson’s game-high 27 points leading the way. Dominique Matthews and Tai Odiase each added 10.
CCU went into the locker room at halftime with a 36-29 lead despite shooting 35 percent from the field and turning the ball over seven times.
Beck had eight points and Shaw had seven to lead the Chants. CCU also held a 22-17 advantage on the boards with eight of those coming on the offensive end leading to 14 second chance points. CCU made the best of their chances at the free throw line hitting all nine of its attempts.
UIC shot 46 percent from the field, but its 12 turnovers hurt their opportunities. CCU only scored eight points off those turnovers as the Chants shooting troubles continued for the first 20 minutes.
Odiase led the Flames with six points and Boahen added four.
CCU will now meet the winner of the Wyoming and Utah Valley game which at press time had not completed. The championship series will be a best two-out-of-three with one team hosting two games, if needed. The games will be played March 27, 29 and 31st with all three games set to be played on ESPNU.
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