GAFFNEY, S.C. - The Coker University men's basketball team got its first win under new head coach Jarred Merrill in a 58-53 victory at Limestone on Wednesday (Nov. 13).
Both teams began the contest feeling each other out defensively, with Coker leading just 7-4 at the first media timeout. By the second break, Coker's lead was 9-8. Limestone would produce a string of buckets to go ahead for the first time in the game at 12-11 with 7:52 to play in the half, before a Chandler Lindsey layup would tie the contest at 13-13 with seven and a half minutes to play in the frame. Back-to-back triples from Royce Hunter and KJ Harris gave the Cobras a six-point lead, before a four-point play from Hunter would stretch Coker's lead to eight with four and a half minutes to play in the half. Coker began to catch fire from that point, stretching its lead to as many as 10 in the final four minutes of the half. Coker would take a 32-22 lead to the half.
Limestone would score the first two buckets of the second half to get back within six, before a layup from Ryan Carfley 1:35 into the period got the Cobras back up by eight. Back-to-back scores from Limestone got the game back within four points, before a three-point play from Harris put the Cobras back up by seven three minutes into the half. Jahmois Barnhill knocked down a three-pointer on Limestone's next possession, before Carfley scored a layup assisted by Lindsey to get Coker back up by two possessions. Out of a Coker timeout, Lindsey sunk two free throws before Chance Prandy dunked one home to keep Limestone within two possessions yet again. A layup from Prandy just past the six-minute mark of the half got the Saints back within four, before a three-pointer from Jaedon Willis got Limestone back within one with 12:11 to play. Out of a Coker timeout, Dakota Jennings and Dylan Spriggins would trade layups before Royce Hunter would knock down a three-pointer as the game shifted into its final 10 minutes. A layup from Christian Miller-Cardwell and one good free throw from Spriggins got Limestone back within one, before a jumper from Hunter put Coker back up by three with just under eight minutes left. One good free throw from Noel Pinnock got Coker back up by four, before back-to-back Limestone buckets tied the game at 49 with five and a half minutes to play. Chris Swiney knocked down a huge three-pointer with four minutes left on the clock, before another score from Hunter put the Cobras up by five with three minutes left. Rudy Bibb-Boyd then drilled a triple to get the Saints back within two with under three minutes to play, before the game would tick down into its final minute. A jumper from Hunter would put the Cobras ahead by four, before one good free throw from Bibb-Boyd got Limestone back within three. Swiney would put the victory on ice with a pair from the charity stripe as the Cobras would go on to start the season 1-0.
Hunter led the Cobras with 16 points in his first game with the Navy and Gold, while Lindsey also scored 15 coming up one point short of tying his career-high. Coker also got points from Harris (nine), Carfley (six), Swiney (five), Jennings (four) and Pinnock (three). Pinnock posted a team-high eight rebounds on the night, with Lindsey also pulling down seven and Jennings grabbing six. Coker also received contributions on the glass from Hunter (four), Swiney (three), Malcolm Kennedy (two), Carfley (one), Harris (one) and Williams Oneyodi (one). Coker recorded six steals in the victory, with two from Lindsey and one each from Pinnock, Hunter, Harris and Kennedy. Jennings registered the lone block in the contest for the Cobras. Lindsey led the team with five assists on the night, while Harris also had three and Carfley, Hunter and Jennings each had one.
The Cobras will wrap up their home and home series with Limestone next Wednesday (Nov. 20) when the Saints visit the DeLoach Center for a 7:30 p.m. tipoff.