CONWAY, S.C. – Garrick Green got his first start of the season and the senior forward responded with a career high 28 points as Coastal Carolina led from start to finish in beating South Alabama, 83-69, in a Sun Belt Conference game Saturday afternoon at the HTC Center.
Green, a senior guard-forward, was the zone buster the Chanticleers needed, as he hit six three-pointers and the Chants made a season-high 16 from long range as they improved to 9-2 overall and 3-1 in the conference. Green was supported by three others in double figures. Senior guard Tyrik Dixon hit for a season and career-high 18 points, junior guard DeVante’ Jones had 14 points and freshman forward Essam Mostafa chipped in with 10 points and a team-high 14 rebounds, his fifth double-double of the season.
Senior guard Michael Flowers scored 29 points to lead South Alabama, which slipped to 7-6 overall and 1-3 in league play.
Green, a 6-foot-6 swingman who didn’t learn he was in the starting lineup until just before game time, came out shooting, contributing eight points as Coastal jumped out to a 21-3 lead at the start. He then added 10 points in a 15-0 run that gave the Chanticleers a 43-18 advantage with just less than three minutes left in the first half. Flowers single-handedly kept South Alabama within catch-up range with 17 first half points. But Green countered with 18 for the Chants, who led at the break 48-27. They coasted through the second half, with South Alabama never getting closer than 12 points, at 76-64, with less than three minutes to go.
“He had a fantastic game,” said head coach Cliff Ellis of Green. “This is going to give him confidence. We know he can shoot the basketball, and I thought his play early made all the difference for us today. This was one of our better efforts. This was a good sweep for us at home.”
Coastal needed to rally in the second half to defeat South Alabama on Friday night, 78-65, behind Jones’ 26 points. This time however, the Chanticleers started strong by making three three-pointers and taking an 11-0 lead at the start. South Alabama never got out of the gate, making only one of its first 10 shots over the first seven minutes.
Green finished 10-for-16 from the field and six-of-11 from three-point range. He also grabbed six rebounds in more than 30 minutes of action. He came into the game averaging 16 minutes of action. As a team, Coastal was 29-of-63 from the field (46 percent) and 16-of-37 from long range (43 percent). The Chanticleers also held a big rebounding advantage, 41-27.
Coastal will head to Georgia State for back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday (Jan. 15-16) before returning home for a weekend series against Troy on Jan. 22-23.