Big South Tournament 2014 Championship: Coastal Carolina faces red-hot Winthrop for title

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

South Division champion Coastal Carolina and red-hot Winthrop meet Sunday afternoon with an NCAA Tournament spot on the line.

The Big South Tournament comes to a close Sunday afternoon, with South Division-champion Coastal Carolina facing Winthrop. Tipoff is set for noon ET at The HTC Center in Conway, S.C. Television coverage will be available on ESPN2. Coastal Carolina is a two-point favorite.

Winthrop (20-12, 10-6) has won three games in four days to reach Sunday's final, knocking off two of the conference's top teams in the process. After a 12-point win over Liberty on Wednesday, the Eagles knocked off No. 1 seed High Point 62-60 on a last-second three-point basket in Friday's quarterfinals. Winthrop then beat UNC-Asheville 80-79 in Saturday's semifinal with two late baskets from freshman guard Keon Johnson.

Johnson (12.4 ppg, 1.4 apg) and junior forward Keon Moore (13.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg) lead a diverse Winthrop attack that includes four players scoring in double figures and a ten-man rotation. The Eagles last made it into the NCAA Tournament in 2010, when they lost a play-in game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Coastal Carolina (20-12, 11-5) has survived its own pair of heart-stopping tournament games to reach Sunday's final. The Chanticleers, who won the Big South's South Division title, needed two overtimes to dispose of Charleston Southern in Friday's quarterfinal. Coastal Carolina then rose a 17-point performance by junior guard Josh Cameron to a four-point win over VMI Saturday afternoon.

The Chanticleers are led by the backcourt trio of Cameron (14.0 ppg, 2.5 apg), Elijah Wilson (16.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg), and Warren Gillis (14.6 ppg, 3.0 apg). Senior center El Hadji Ndieguene patrols the lane, but managed just four points in two previous games against Winthrop this season. Like Winthrop, Coastal Carolina can go up to ten-deep on its rotation. It has been 21 years since Coastal Carolina earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament, when the 1993 Chanticleers were rolled by eventual runner-up Michigan.

Coastal Carolina has one factor in its favor in that the game is being played at its home arena. Winthrop won both games over Coastal Carolina during the regular season, with an overtime win over the Chanticleers at the HTC Center in January and a ten-point victory at Winthrop Coliseum.

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