Thursday night featured five games in the Big South and the conference is now officially at gridlock in the standings with five teams now tied for first place in the conference at 5-2.
Coastal Drops Second Straight
This time two weeks ago Coastal Carolina was cruising and getting plenty of national attention, now the Chants have dropped two straight with a 75-65 loss at UNC Asheville last night on ESPNU. Andrew Rowsey lead the Bulldogs with 17 points and 5 assists but David Robertson and Kevin Vannatta weren't far behind with 14 and 13 points respectively. Will Weeks saw double-digit minutes for the first time this year, due to injury, and posted 10 points and 5 rebounds off the bench.
Coastal as of late seems to have slow first halves and that certainly happened again last night as the Chants were down 40-26 at halftime. They've been able to battle back before but last night was just too much despite double digit performances from Warren Gillis , Josh Cameron , Elijah Wilson , and Shivaughn Wiggins.
Both teams will get tested immediately again on Saturday as Coastal hosts a hot Presbyterian squad and Asheville heads to High Point.
Radford Gets Big Home Win Over High Point
A lot of High Point fans weren't happy with the Panthers second half effort against Longwood on Monday and noted that Scott Cherry's squad needed to take a little more fire on the road with Radford coming up. Whatever High Point brought wasn't enough as the Panthers fell 73-66 in the Dedmon Center. HPU only got 16 points from their starters not named John Brown and were just 5-for-18 from the field. Brown finished with a typical night with 21 points and 7 boards but it just wasn't enough to slow down the total team effort from the Highlanders.
Radford is all of a sudden at 4-3 after starting the Big South slate 0-3. Javonte Green continues to be the most consistent player in the conference and his 15 points and 10 rebounds last night gave him his fifth double-double of the season. Ya Ya Anderson also had 15 points while R.J. Price and Brandon Holcomb both posted 14 points each.
High Point will host Asheville on Saturday while Radford continues their homestand against an inept Liberty team.
Jerome Hill Continues in Beast Mode
It was the same old story in Boiling Springs last night. Jerome Hill was in beast mode, Tyler Strange dropped dimes, and Longwood continues to push every conference team to the edge despite being shorthanded. Hill had 31 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists in the Bulldogs 79-67 win last night, while Strange had 14 assists. Tyrell Nelson narrowly missed a double-double with 15 points and 9 rebounds as well.
Longwood continues to battle without big man Lotanna Nwogbo and were also without freshman contributor Kanayo Obi-Rapu last night. The injuries were even more amplified when Quincy Taylor and Ryan Badowski both missed time last night due to injury. This was one of those games where the scored expanded in the last minute due to intentional fouls. Longwood was within four points as we approached the 2:30 mark and it was another close, scrappy game for the Lancers. Leron Fisher continues to break out on the offensive end and posted 25 points and 5 assists. Shaquille Johnson added 19 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals, and a block for the Lancers.
Gardner-Webb has a tough road trip to the Buc Dome Saturday while Longwood gets the weekend off before hosting Asheville next Wednesday.
Presbyterian Continues to Surge Over Campbell
Presbyterian isn't going to surprise anyone else this year after they moved to 3-4 in conference play with a 72-70 win over Campbell. DeSean Murray continued his domination of the Freshman of the Year race for the Blue Hose with 21 points. Jordan Downing and Davon Bell were the only other two players for PC in double-figures with 13 and 10 points respectively.
Campbell drops all the way to 1-6 in the conference and still have not won a game in 2015. The good news is that all the Camels starters finished in double-figures lead by Kyre' Hamer with 17 points.
Things won't get easier for the Camels as they prepare for a Saturday trip to Rock Hill to face Winthrop. Presbyterian heads to in-state rival Coastal Carolina on Saturday.
Hot Seat Heats Up After Winthrop Beat Down
The story in Lynchburg right now is the job status of Dale Layer as the Liberty Flames have been dead last or close to it in the RPI rankings this year. The hot seat heated up again last night after a 71-56 loss to Winthrop at the Vines Center and an abysmal first half where the Flames only scored 15 points in the half. Liberty didn't register a three pointer and turned the ball over 20 times as the Flames dropped to 0-7 in conference. It's hard to justify firing a coach midseason but you have to wonder if Jeff Barber is getting close at Liberty?
It was the Keons who lead the charge for Winthrop last night as Moore had 22 points and Johnson registered 16. Winthrop is right behind that 5-2 mix in the conference at 4-3 but will have a chance for another victory Saturday against Campbell.