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Big South Semifinals: Coastal Downs VMI 66-62 to Host Big South Championship

Coastal Carolina takes down VMI in a thriller to move on to the Big South Championship to take on in-state rival Winthrop. The game will be a rematch of the 2011 Big South title game.

Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Coastal Carolina a little bit of history and the luxury of playing on their home floor against VMI in the Big South Semifinals this afternoon. The Chanticleers downed VMI 83-78 less than a month ago in Lexington, right before their bus got stuck on the journey home to Conway, South Carolina.

Coastal shot out to a 10-4 lead early in this one but Duggar Baucom's Keydets instantly responded with a 9-0 run to tighten the game up. The first half remained tight throughout and at halftime Coastal held a slight 34-33 lead. Coastal Carolina was unable to take advantage of VMI big man D.J. Covington only playing nine minutes in the first due to foul trouble and a 27-19 advantage on the boards.

The Chanticleers grew their lead as high as six points but down the stretch this was a back and forth game where it was almost always a one shot changed. That changed a bit after a big block from Tristan Curtis and a steal from Josh Cameron in back-to-back possessions to give Coastal a 63-59 lead with just over two minutes to play.

VMI fired back and had a shot to tie the game after Rodney Glasgow got them into a one shot, but Q.J. Peterson clanked a three pointer that would allow the Chanticleers to escape with a 66-62.

Tristan Curtis only had 2 points but stepped up with El Hadji Ndieguene fouled out and Uros Ljeskovic hurt. Curtis finished with 13 points and 3 big blocks. Josh Cameron ended up leading the Chants with 17 points, while Badou Diagne had a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards. D.J. Covington lead VMI with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Coastal will now take their home court against Winthrop Saturday at noon for the Big South Championship. The Chants lost to Winthrop twice this season already.

VMI now leaves the Big South for the Southern Conference. VMI joined the Big South in 2003 and has yet to win a conference championship in any sport.