A college career that began at tiny Cumberland College in Tennessee reached its zenith on Tuesday night as the Coastal Carolina men’s basketball team defeated Valparaiso 64-61 in the semifinals of the Baha Mar Hoops Nassau Championship. Not only did the win advance the Chanticleers into Wednesday night’s championship game, it was also the 800th Division One victory for head coach Cliff Ellis.
On a night where Coastal struggled from the field (27-of-70 39%), it was a 3-pointer by transfer guard Rudi Williams that proved to be the difference. The former Kansas State Wildcat stripped the net cord with :22 seconds remaining to give the Chanticleers the lead for good. Williams finished with ten, while Essam Mostafa scored a game high 16 points and grabbed 8 rebounds for CCU (2-1). Kevion Taylor poured in 15 points on five three point field goals to lead the way for the Beacons (1-4).
Ellis becomes just the 13th coach to eclipse 800 wins, joining the likes of Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Boeheim, Roy Williams, Bob Knight, and Dean Smith. He is currently fourth on the active wins list behind Krzyzewski, Boeheim, and West Virginia’s Bob Huggins.
Coastal squares off with Toledo at 8pm on Wednesday in the tournament finals. The Rockets advanced with a 68-67 win over Tulane in the first semifinal on Tuesday. Following the trip to the Bahamas, the Chanticleers return home to face South Carolina on December 1st in Conway.
Cliff Ellis Postgame (Chanticleer Sports Network)