The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers defeated Howard University in the first round of the 2019 Roman College Basketball Invitational by a final score of 81-72 on Wednesday, March 20 at the HTC Center on Coastal Carolina’s campus.
Coastal Carolina was led by bench star Tyrell Gumbs-Frater and his 22 points. Of those 22 points, 14 came in the second half. Senior Zac Cuthbertson contributed a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Cuthbertson gave fans a scare early in the first half after taking a hit underneath the basket and crumpled to the ground.
Cuthbertson would return to the game late in the first half and says he will be ready to go for Monday night’s second round game.
Another senior, Ajay Sanders, would have to leave the game early due to back spasms. Sanders did not play in the second half but Coastal Carolina men’s basketball coach Cliff Ellis lists Sanders as day-to-day.
“[Ajay’s] status will be up to the team doctors,” said Ellis. “If he is able to go, then he is going to play but if the doctor’s say he can’t go then I can’t argue with them.”
Freshman Ebrima Dibba played one of the best games of his career as he nearly recorded a triple-double, scoring 13 points (11 of which came in the second half), bringing down eight rebounds and dishing out eight assists.
It was a tale of two halves for the Chanticleers, as they went into halftime facing a 36-31 deficit. It would only get tougher for the Chanticleers as they found themselves being down by 53-39 with a little over 12 minutes to play. Coastal would storm back and went on an incredible 24-4 run in one of the most dominant second half performances of the season.
Coastal would outscore Howard 50-36 in the second half and now have a place in the final eight of the 2019 Roman CBI Tournament.
For Howard, guard Charles Williams dropped 17 points while Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Player of the Year R.J. Cole scored 14 on 4-18 shooting.
The 16-16 Chanticleers will play The University of West Virginia in the next round of the 2019 Roman College Basketball Invitational on Monday, March 25 at 7p.m.