BUIES CREEK, N.C. (WMBF) - Coastal Carolina basketball won't be making a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, after losing 69-65 to Gardner-Webb in the Quarterfinals of the Big South Championship on Friday. Coastal is eligible to play in the NIT, CBI or CIT postseason tournaments, but will not know if it gets an invite until March 13. CCU falls to 18-11 on the year.
The team came out firing to start the game. Two quick Elijah Wilson three pointers propelled the Chants early, and they led 38-25 at the half.
However, a flurry of three point shots and offensive rebounds helped the Runnin' Bulldogs get back in it, and tie the game up at 55 late in the second half. Once Gardner-Webb took the lead, it did not look back, holding on for its second win in as many nights. It also beat Campbell in the First Round of the Championship on Thursday.
Shivaughn Wiggins led the Chants with 17 points, while Elijah Wilson put up 15. However, CCU was 11-35 from the three point line for the game. Though Cliff Ellis points to the boards as the problem for defeat.
"You saw two different halves," he said. "You saw us in the first half, you saw them in the second half. Defense, whatever. I go back to those second shots (opportunities). Those were just back breakers."
Gardner-Webb moves on to face second-seeded Winthrop in the Big South Semifinals on Saturday at 3:00. High Point will take on UNC Asheville at 1:00.
CCU last qualified for the CIT in 2012, and Ellis is optimistic about the odds of playing in a postseason tournament with this team.
"One third of the teams get an invite (to a postseason tournament)," Ellis said. "I think we should, I think we put ourselves in position to. When you're in this situation now, you leave it to committees."