Munnings, Warhawks advance to quarter-finals
It was sweet revenge for Bahamian senior forward Travis Munnings and his University of Louisana–Munroe Warhawks as they toppled the Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers 80-50 in second round action in the Sun Belt Championship at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, Louisiana, on Thursday night.
The Chanticleers had swept their regular season series 2-0.
Munnings had a busy night as he poured in 17 points, pulled down a team-high seven rebounds and dished out seven assists. He also connected on three three-pointers and going 7 of 14 from the field to shoot 50 percent.
His teammate, Michael Ertel, dropped 20 points, pulled down six rebounds and dished out seven assists.
For the Chanticleers, Tommy Burton scored a team-high 15 points and eight rebounds.
From the beginning of the game it looked like the Chanticleers were going to win this one as they jumped out on an 8-0 run before Ertel ended it with a layup with 17:53 to go in the first half.
Later, the Chanticleers had their largest lead of the night with an 11-2 score line as they looked poised to knock off the Grand Bahama native.
Tyree White connected from beyond the arc as he gave his Warhawks their first lead of the game. They were up 15-13 with 11:03 to go.
With just over a minute to go in the first half, the Warhawks went up by 12, their biggest lead of the half. They led 41-29.
By the end of the first half, Munnings scored eight points, grabbed four rebounds and had two threes. Both teams shot the ball around 40 percent but it was the Warhawks’ tenacious defense that gave them the edge as they forced eight turnovers compared to the Chanticleers forcing just three.
Keith Richard, head coach of the Warhawks, said: “It was our best defensive effort of the year, holding Coastal Carolina to 29-percent field-goal shooting [and] 19 percent in the second half. I felt with this team if we could ever find some defense, we could win some games because our offense is pretty good. It’s been a year-long search for that kind of a defensive effort. And tonight, we really got hit. Those field-goal percentage defense numbers are phenomenal, and that’s why the final margin was so big.”
Keith Richard once again spoke highly of Munnings, but this time it was about his stifling defense. Munnings had to defend Zac Cuthbertson, who had 19, 28 and 25 in his previous three matchups. Munnings held him to nine points on 3-of-9 field-goal shooting.
“In particular, Travis Munnings did a tremendous job defending Zac Cuthbertson, who really hurt us in the previous regular-season games,” Richard said, referring to Cuthbertson scoring 29 and 25 points in two previous games.
The Warhawks defense held the Chanticleers to just 19 points in the final half to win the game 80-50.
The senior has scored in double digits in both of his conference championship games and will look to continue that streak as his college career winds down. He also shot 50 percent or above in those two games.
For Munnings and his Warhawks, they moved on to play third-seeded Georgia Southern University Eagles in the quarter-finals last night at 7.30 p.m. No scores were available at press time.
If they win, they will move on to play the second seeded University of Texas–Arlington Mavericks this afternoon in the semi-finals at 5:30 p.m.