PENSACOLA, Fla. – DeVante’ Jones scored a game-high 20 points to lead Coastal Carolina University to a 86-68 victory over Troy Saturday night in the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Conference Championship which is being held in Pensacola, Fla.
Jones scored 10 points in each half, which didn’t look like it would happen for the junior as he was injured early in the game and had to go to the locker room for an extended stay, but he was able to get back on the court and lead CCU in scoring.
CCU (16-6) finished the game shooting 46.3 percent from the field as Garrick Green scored 15 points, and Deanthony Tipler and Tyrik Dixon added 13 each. It was a big game for Dixon who had missed the previous three weeks with an injury. He also had a team-high eight rebounds and five assists in his first game back from injury.
CCU hit nine of their 27 three-point attempts for 33.3 percent and hit 15-of-18 free throws, all in the second half, for 83.3 percent.
The Chants defense stepped up holding the Trojans to 68 points and 33.9 percent shooting. Zay Williams had a nice game for Troy leading them with 19 points with Duke Miles scoring 14 and Jakevan Leftridge 11. Williams completed a double-double with a game-high 12 rebounds.
The win for CCU gave the Chants five wins over Troy on the season, which according to NCAA records is the first time in the history of Division I collegiate basketball one team has beat another five times in one season without losing a game to the opposing team.
Troy stayed in the game and cut CCU’s lead to 44-43 with 13:46 left in the game, but CCU pushed down on the gas pedal and outscored Troy 23-6 over the next nine minutes to go up 67-49 and went on to lead by 21 (77-56) to put the game away.
After Troy (11-17) scored the first four points of the opening half, the Chants made nine consecutive field goals to build a 20-8 lead after eight minutes and forced a Trojan timeout.
From there the Chants went into a cold spell, missing 10 of their next 11 field goals, to allow the Trojans an opportunity to cut into the CCU lead.
Jones led the Chants with 10 points while Green scored seven and Tipler added six. CCU finished the first half shooting 42.4 percent from the floor and hit five of their 15 three-point attempts. They did not get to the free throw line which turned out to be a major disadvantage in the opening 20 minutes.
Williams had seven points for the Trojans as they only shot 32 percent from the field. The Trojans not only stayed in the game but was able to cut into the CCU lead with 15 free throw attempts, hitting nine, while the Chants did not attempt a free throw.
The Chants now move into the semifinal round of the Sun Belt Conference Championship and will face rival Appalachian State tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET at the Pensacola Bay Center.