CONWAY, S.C. – Junior guard DeVante’ Jones scored a career-high 33 points and Coastal Carolina pulled away in the second half to earn a 99-73 win over visiting Delaware State on Thursday night at the HTC Center. Jones was supported by guard Deanthony Tipler and forward Essam Mostafa, who had 21 and 15 points, respectively, but the night belonged to Jones, who became the 23rd 1,000-point scorer in Chanticleer basketball history with a pair of free throws in the first half.
Jones’ totals helped lift Coastal to an overall record of 5-1, with a perfect 5-0 mark at home. The team’s standout hit 10-of-14 shots overall and 12-of-13 free throws, and then added nine rebounds, six steals and four assists for good measure. Tipler, a junior in his first year at Coastal, got most of his points on outside shooting, while Mostafa worked the inside, also grabbing a team-high 12 rebounds, to earn his second double-double of the season.
Senior guard Pinky Wiley scored 19 points to lead Delaware State, which slipped to 0-2.
“That’s a good win for us,” said head coach Cliff Ellis, whose team rebounded after losing at Wofford on Tuesday. “DJ played a great all-around game and it was a big night for him. When you can score 1,000 points, it shows a commitment and dedication to the game. He’s our leader.”
The two teams went back-and-forth in a first half that had seven lead changes and six ties before Coastal broke on top to stay with a six-point run keyed by Tipler’s four consecutive points. His pair of free throws put the Chanticleers in front, 31-30, and then Jones added a layup off a steal at half court. Sophomore big man Tim Ceasar closed the first half with a thundering dunk that gave Coastal a 44-39 lead at the break.
Jones and Tipler each had 14 points in the first half. Jones carried the load early and hit a pair of free throws at the 5:29 mark that gave him 1,000 points.
He also had six points in a 21-5 run that broke the game open early in the second half, giving the Chants a 19-point lead at 65-46. The lead reached 26 points when Jones hit two more free throws with six minutes remaining in the contest. But the largest lead of the night came in the final minutes when junior center DeShawn Thomas scored from close range, making it 99-68. Thomas was part of a rugged inside group of reserves for the Chanticleers, that also included senior Garrick Green. The two combined for 14 points and 13 rebounds. Thomas also had three more blocks on the night, bringing his team-leading total to 16 on the season.
Coastal hit better than half of its shots, going 35-for-65 from the field (54 percent) and 23-for-28 from the charity stripe (82 percent). The Chants also won the battle of the boards, outrebounding the Hornets, 50-25.