CONWAY, S.C. (AP) -- Anthony Raffa scored 23 points Thursday night as Coastal Carolina defeated Virginia Military Institute 87-78 in the teams' Big South Conference opener.
Raffa was one of four Chanticleers in double figures as Coastal Carolina (6-1) got off to a good start. He got all-around help from forward Chris Gradnigo, who had 22 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and two blocked shots. Raffa shot 8 for 13 from the field, 7 of 8 on free throws.
Chanticleer forward Sam McLaurin also had a superb game. He scored 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting and grabbed 15 rebounds, seven on the offensive glass. Teammate Brandon Crawford came off the bench to score 11.
Stan Okoye led VMI (3-3) with 25 points. He sank 3 of 4 shots from 3-point range. Keith Gabriel added 16 for the Keydets.
Coastal Carolina shot 53.1 percent (34 of 64) despite going 0 for 9 on 3-pointers.