Coastal Carolina and 2017 NCAA Final Four participant South Carolina have agreed to meet on the basketball court for the next three seasons, and the contract calls for the Gamecocks to visit Conway for the first time.
The Chanticleers will travel to Colonial Life Arena in Columbia to face coach Frank Martin’s team for the first and second games of the series, including the opening game on Dec. 9. The date of the second game during the 2018-19 season will be announced later.
Coastal will host the third game of the series at the HTC Center in 2019-20, with a date to be determined. Coastal head coach Cliff Ellis said the game will likely be in November or December 2019, before the teams begin their respective conference schedules.
“The big thing is we have a series and South Carolina is coming here. It’s a major step up,” Ellis said Wednesday.
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The Chants have hosted games against Clemson, Louisiana State, Mississippi and Auburn in recent years, and Ellis said Wake Forest is also coming to Conway this season.
“It shows the progress of our program, it shows the respect it has,” Ellis said. “I’m very appreciative to Frank for doing this.”
The big thing is we have a series and South Carolina is coming here. It’s a major step up. . . . It shows the progress of our program, it shows the respect it has. I’m very appreciative to Frank for doing this.
CCU coach Cliff Ellis
The two programs have met twice previously on the hardwood with each team winning once. Both games were played in Columbia. The Gamecocks won 92-65 in January 1989 and the Chants won 88-74 in December 1993.
The Coastal men’s basketball team is completing eight weeks of summer workouts this week. The veterans were given the final week off and newcomers to the team have remained. Ellis said the workouts are allowed for eight hours per week and include lifting, conditioning and two hours per week on the court. The workouts will begin again after Labor Day.
“It’s not a lot but it’s enough where we can interact and get to know each other a little bit,” Ellis said. “It gives people a chance to get adjusted. The big thing I think is it helps the newcomers get adjusted. This definitely will make a difference for them. I’ve been very pleased with what I’ve seen. We’ve got a lot of new faces and I think they’ll make a difference.”