The Coastal men’s basketball team hopes to continue its run of good play as it heads to Texas with the women’s team for a pair of doubleheaders Thursday and Saturday.
The men (10-13) have won three consecutive games after dropping six straight to improve to 4-6 in conference play. The Chants pulled out a one-point win on the road over Troy on Jan. 20 before a pair of double-digit home wins over Arkansas State and Little Rock this past week.
Junior Zac Cuthbertson (15.5) and senior Jaylen Shaw (15.0) continue to lead CCU in scoring.
Sophomore Artur Labinowicz is averaging 10.7 points per game and senior Demario Beck is coming off the bench to add 10.6 points and a team-leading 7.3 rebounds per outing. Sophomore Amidou Bamba came off the bench to score a career-high 18 points in Saturday’s win over Little Rock.
Shaw’s 129 assists are the second highest total in the conference and he also leads the team with 39 steals.
The Chants are now beginning to see conference teams for a second time this season with their games against Texas State (14-9, 7-3 conference) and Texas-Arlington (13-10, 4-6). They defeated UTA by 25 to begin conference play and fell to Texas State 53-48 to begin the six-game skid that heavily featured struggles with three-point shooting. Texas State is the conference leader in points allowed per game. The UTA game begins at 5:15 p.m. Saturday and can be seen online on ESPN3.
CCU coach Cliff Ellis isn’t surprised his team has played better as it has gained experience.
“The experience of other teams having so many people back, and us having guys that are playing for the first time in a major role, whether it be Art, A.J. [Sanders], Zac, Josh Coleman, there will just be that moment when they’re not experienced enough to get us through those moments,” Ellis said.
“One thing I don’t question about our team is they’re going to give it everything they’ve got,” Ellis continued. “But when it’s not going right they lose confidence and become stagnant. I think a lot of that is so many inexperienced guys being out there and they’re trying to figure this thing out there. When it’s going good, it’s good. When it gets off the track it becomes a roller-coaster.”
The CCU women (11-10) dropped to 5-5 in the conference with a pair of tough home losses last week, falling 70-63 to Arkansas State and 51-49 to Little Rock, which is unbeaten in conference play and needed a Ronjanae DeGray jumper with one second remaining for the win.
CCU is one of three Sun Belt women’s teams with two players in the top 10 in scoring in the conference, as Jas Adams is tied for third at 16.8 points and DJ Williams is fifth at 15.0.
The other duos are Texas State’s Toshua Leavitt and Taeler Deer, who are first at 18.6 and tied for third, respectively, and South Alabama’s Chyna Ellis (tied for eighth) and Savannah Jones (tenth).