CONWAY, S.C. – Sophomore guard DeVante’ Jones scored 12 of his game-high 23 points in the final 8:30 to lead a late rally that carried Coastal Carolina to a 74-72 win over Georgia State in a Sun Belt Conference game Saturday afternoon at the HTC Center. The hard-fought win lifted the Chanticleers to 9-6 overall and 2-2 in the conference. It was the first conference loss for Georgia State, which slipped to 10-4 overall and 3-1 in the Sun Belt.
Coastal got double-figures scoring from five players for the seventh time this season. In addition to Jones, Keishawn Brewton had 14 points and freshman Hosana Kitenge had a career-high 12 points. Tommy Burton and Garrick Green had 10 points apiece. Burton also led the Chanticleers with 10 rebounds, for his third double-double of the season.
Jones started the second-half rally with a pair of three-pointers as the Chanticleers went on a 7-0 run to take a 58-54 lead with seven minutes left. The floor general continued to make the difference as he hit a jumper and three free throws, helping the Chanticleers to their biggest lead of 10 points, at 68-58 with 2:30 remaining. From there, however, the Panthers pressed on defense and closed to within two points on a last second field goal from sophomore Justin Roberts, who led his team with 16 points.
“We made it interesting,” sighed Coastal head coach Cliff Ellis. “That was a big win for us. We had the game under control and almost let it get away from us. We have to learn from that.”
The contest included 16 lead changes and seven ties. Georgia State led most of the way before Coastal grabbed the lead for good with eight minutes left in the game. Neither team led by more than six points before Coastal’s 17-4 run that put them up by 10, at 68-58.
Kitenge had a couple niffy follow-ups in a six-point run for Coastal to close the first half, bringing the Chanticleers back to a 35-35 tie at the break. He was solid again in the second half and grabbed five rebounds as he earned his most playing time of the season.
“He played a great game, and I’m proud of him,” said Ellis of his agile big man.
The two teams mirrored each other in shooting, rebounding and turnovers. Coastal hit 25-65 (39%) from the field, while Georgia State was 28-67 (42%). Coastal had a narrow 43-42 advantage in rebounding, and each team had more than 20 turnovers.