The first meeting of the New Hampshire Wildcats and the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers was a tale of two halves. The first half plagued with baskets not falling for either team to a battle from the 3-point line in the second.
Both teams won their first postseason games in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament and both were looking to advance farther than either had done in school history, but unfortunately one had to be sent home packing.
Shooting was abysmal in the first half. No matter what anyone did, shots just wouldn't fall. With a halftime score of 26-25 in favor of New Hampshire, you'd be surprised to see that Coastal Carolina actually had a better shooting percentage at 28.1 percent. Yeah, they hit nine of their 32 attempts while New Hampshire shot 25 percent on 7 of 28 shooting. To quote the guys calling the game, "Leprechauns put lid on the baskets." Honestly, based on the performance of both teams, it's not too unbelievable.
One problem New Hampshire faced was their size. Their tallest guy is Iba Camara at 6-9, who only played 16 minutes, as apposed to Coastal Carolina who has more height in their main players. From the very beginning they realized that driving the lane wasn't going to work out, so they settled for making jump shots.
The second half was a completely different story for both sides. They went shot for shot from the 3-point line and while New Hampshire was able to keep it going for a while, Coastal Carolina was able to capitalize when it mattered most, grabbing one more than the Wildcats. Three Wildcats hit double-digits with Daniel Dion leading the way with 16, hitting four of his nine 3-pointers. Tanner Leissner came in just under, at 15 and Jaleen Smith rounded out with 13.
It wasn't as though New Hampshire let its guard down. Not at all. Their defense was good, but when a team is hot from the 3-point line, it's incredibly hard to stop. The 15 fouls and 11 turnovers by the Wildcats also contributed to their loss.
New Hampshire had nothing to be ashamed of. The Wildcats won 20 games for the first time in program history, just a year after tallying 19. They had their first ever postseason win and all but one of their starting five are coming back for more next season.