HAVANA, Cuba – The Coastal Carolina University men’s basketball team played its third and final international exhibition game against the Cuban National Team in Havana on Monday. The Chanticleers led by as many as 13 in the third quarter, but the Cuban’s used a 13-1 run to start the fourth quarter, overcome its double-digit deficit and hang on for the 93-86 win.
Monday morning was less structured for the team as no activity was planned. The student-athletes ate breakfast and were free to explore Havana on their own or rest up for the game until pregame lunch at 1:30 p.m. A few of the Chants took advantage of the exploration time, while many others stayed at the Parque Central Hotel to rest their weary legs.
Below is an account of the day/game by redshirt sophomore guard Jaylen Shaw followed by a brief recap of the game.
The team and staff are all having a tremendous experience here in Cuba. Personally, it took time for me to adapt, but I began to understand the culture and realize how things are here. This trip is a humbling experience for us all. We all realize how grateful we are for what we have. I’ve noticed it doesn’t take a lot of money or riches to be happy. The people here are a prime example of that. They appreciate everything we give them, and just seeing us walking around town gives them joy.
From the basketball standpoint, it was a great experience, as well. Although we came out on the short end in the games, I feel like we got better. Playing against professionals was a good thing for us, and we are all glad we came on this trip to play. Personally, I feel like this was a great way for me to get comfortable playing with the team after sitting out an entire year. This helped me out tremendously.
Overall, I feel like this trip is a huge success. We got better as a team, we are enjoying ourselves and we are doing good deeds for the people here in Havana.
Thanks for reading and Go Chants.
Cuba 93, Coastal Carolina 86
Coastal opened the contest on an 8-2 run through the first three minutes of play with guards Shivaughn Wiggins and Jaylen Shaw accounting for four points each. Five minutes later Shaw received a roar of approval from the Havana Sports City crowd as he finished off a Wiggins alley-oop, making the score 16-9 in the Chants favor. Elijah Wilson capped Coastal’s scoring in the quarter with a three to give the black and teal-clad Chants a 23-16 lead entering the second quarter.
After an defensive rebound by Badou Diagne to start the second quarter, Wiggins found Kevin Holmes, Jr. alone on the right wing and the freshman knocked down the open 3-pointer, providing CCU its first double-digit lead of the three-game series. Coastal gave up only a point to the Cubans over the ensuing four minutes, leaving the Chants up 33-24 at the five-minute mark of the quarter. Tristian Curtis and Wiggins led Coastal throughout the remainder of the quarter with four points each as the Chants took a 45-34 lead into halftime.
Coastal kept at least a five-point advantage on the scoreboard during the initial five minute of the third quarter. With the Chants up 58-53 at the 3:33 mark of the quarter, Wiggins converted a 3-point play and followed two possessions later with a trey from the top of the arc. Ron Trapps then made it a 9-2 Coastal run a possession later with his 3-pointer from the right corner after an extra pass by Marcus Freeman. Shaw extended the run to 13-7 with two points each, giving Coastal a 71-60 advantage after 30 minutes of basketball.
The Cuban team refused to go away quietly, surging at the start of the fourth quarter with an 11-1 run that left the Chants ahead 72-71 with 6:37 to play. Cuba’s Orestes Torres then made a pair at the line, giving Cuba its first lead of the game at 73-72. A Coastal turnover then led to Lisvan Valdes’ 3-point play and a 76-72 Cuban lead with 6:01 to go in regulation.
Diagne broke CCU’s three-plus minute scoring drought with a 3-pointer from the left wing, pulling the Chants’ back within a point. The teams exchanged several empty possessions before Wiggins knotted the game at 76 on his first of two free throws. He then missed the second, but Diagne grabbed the rebound and was fouled on his shot. Diagne made one of the two freebies, giving Coastal a 77-76 lead with 3:24 to go. However, the lead would not last long as Cuba’s Torres and Javier Justiz scored quick baskets, giving the National Team an 80-77 lead at the 2:18 mark.
Cuba outscored Coastal 16-9 the rest of the way, including nine at the free-throw line, to secure the 93-86 win.
Wiggins finished as Coastal’s leading scorer with 22 points, while Shaw scored 20 and Wilson chipped in 15. Diagne accounted for nine points, while Curtis and Freeman had six. Holes, Jr. (5) and Trapps (3) rounded out the Chants’ scoring.
Monday’s game concluded Coastal Carolina three exhibition games against the Cuban National Team. The Chants were led in the games by Wiggins and Shaw with 50 total points each (16.6 ppg). Also contributing heavily on the offensive end were Wilson with 36 points (12.0 ppg) and Diagne with 27 total points (9.0 ppg).
WPDE.COM, August 10, 2015