CCU falls to Virginia after first half lead in NCAA Tourney

Source: Joe Murano
Source: Joe Murano
Source: Damon Cutno
Source: Damon Cutno

RALEIGH, NC (WMBF) – Coastal Carolina couldn't hold on to a 17-4 run and ten point lead in the first half, and lost to top-seeded Virginia in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night by a 70-59 final score.

In a locker room speech before tip off, CCU Coach Cliff Ellis could be heard saying, "Let it go. Enjoy the moment. Our job is to go out there and beat Virginia."

UVA was up 9-7 at the first media timeout.

The teams played six and a half minutes into the first half before the first foul was called, which is very rare for CCU or any other team, said WMBF News Sports Director Joe Murano.

The Chants held a 29-21 lead with 4:56 left in the first half.

CCU held a 35-30 lead at halftime. They lost the lead for much of the second half but came back to tie Virginia at 47 with just under eight minutes left in the game.

However, Virginia pulled ahead by 6, and a pair of late Evan Nolte threes put the game out of reach for the Chants.

At the final media timeout, CCU was down 65-52, with 2:48 left on the clock. Junior Warren Gillis fouled out moments later, and the Chants couldn't recover from the deficit. 

Virginia advances to face Memphis in the third round at Raleigh on Sunday night. If the Cavaliers defeat Memphis, they will move on to play in the Sweet 16 in New York City.

In the post-game press conference, Coach Ellis said, "I'm proud of my team but disappointed we didn't win."

Ten different Chanticleers scored, and CCU gave up zero offensive rebounds to Virginia. Badou Diagne led the way with 14 points, while Gillis poured in 13.

The Cavs were led by former South Carolina Gamecock Anthony Gill, who had a season high 17 points in the win.

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