Louisiana (3-2) at Coastal Carolina (2-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 24, 2:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: HTC Center (3,212) -- Conway, South Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: Louisiana 2-0, Coastal Carolina 2-1. Away Record: Louisiana 0-2, Coastal Carolina 0-2. Neutral Record: Louisiana 1-0, Coastal Carolina 0-0. Conference Record: Louisiana 0-0, Coastal Carolina 0-0. Series Record: First meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns will try to knock off the hosting Coastal Carolina Chanticleers in the championship round of the mainland part of the Maui Invitational Tournament at the HTC Center.
Coastal Carolina is 2-3 after its impressive, 70-59 win over St. Francis Brooklyn at the HTC Center on Saturday in its first round of the tournament. CCU's only other decision came over Division III foe Guilford College. Despite the losing record, the Chanticleers have performed at a decent level as they have not lost to any opponent by more than 10 points and fell to Ole Miss by only two. They are shooting 41 percent from the floor and outrebounding their opposition by an average of 2.4 boards per tilt. CCU did a solid job of coming up with stops after miscues on Saturday. Although the team turned the ball 16 times compared to 12 by the Terriers, the Chanticleers were able to outscore their opponent, 19-13, in points off turnovers.
The Ragin Cajuns are sitting one game above the .500 mark after five games. Louisiana began its season with routs of Louisiana College and McNeese State, but was downed by double digits by Arkansas and Baylor in its next two outings. Coach Bob Marlin's team impressed on Saturday versus Oakland as it dominated the boards, pulling in 42 rebounds to the Golden Grizzlies' 33. It also outscored Oakland at the foul line, 25-11, en route to an 84-75 decision. The Ragin' Cajuns returned their major contributors from last season's squad that finished with a 13-20 overall record.
This will be the first meeting in history between Louisiana and CCU.
Warren Gillis, Michael Enanga and Josh Cameron had 13 points apiece as the Chanticleers used a collective effort to down the Terriers. Elijah Wilson had 10 points for CCU and El Hadji Ndieguene nearly recorded double-double with nine points and 14 boards. Wilson has paced CCU in the scoring column in three of its five games to arrive a team-high average of 16 ppg. Wilson is a threat from beyond the arc as nine of his 28 made field goals have from behind the 3- point line. Gillis is second on the squad with 10.6 ppg, while five Chanticleers are chipping in six ppg or more.
Louisiana has one of the best inside-out combinations at the mid-major level in Elfrid Payton and Shawn Long. The dynamic duo played a key role in the Ragin' Cajuns win over Oakland on Saturday. Long recorded a double-double with 24 points and 17 rebounds, while Payton notched a career-high 32 points on 8- of-15 shooting from the field and also grabbed seven rebounds. Steven Wronkoski added 11 points. Payton is now is contributing 24.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists and three steals per outing through five games. Long has also been consistently excellent as he is producing a double-double with 20.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per tilt. Although Wronkoski stepped up to provide the team with a third option versus Oakland, Louisiana has not had a reliable third option on a regular basis. The Ragin' Cajuns have outscored their opposition by 7.4 ppg and grabbed 40 rpg compared to only 34.4 rpg by their foes.
The Chanticleers have a slight edge due to their homecourt advantage and a more unselfish style of play. However, Louisiana will be impossible to stop if Payton and Long continue to operate with such high efficiency. It is unlikely that the Ragin' Cajuns' stars will have equivalent performances against a much stingier CCU defense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Louisiana 74, Coastal Carolina 70
11/24 10:30:51 ET