BATON ROUGE, La. – Coastal Carolina picked up 28 victories a season ago, but Chad Gray felt that nothing topped what took place against LSU on Monday night.
The Chanticleers knocked off their first BCS conference opponent in 17 seasons with a 78-69 overtime victory against the Tigers.
Coastal Carolina's last victory over a BCS conference team was an 88-74 decision at South Carolina on Dec. 11, 1993.
"This is bigger than any win last year because this is an SEC opponent," said Gray, who made two 3-pointers in the overtime period. "The SEC is one of the power conferences. Our guys all felt confident. We thought we could come in here and win."
Gray scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half and was 7 of 12 from the field, including a career-high four 3-pointers.
The Chanticleers (8-2) jumped out to a four-point lead in overtime on baskets by Desmond Holloway and Michael Holmes. Storm Warren's field goal cut Coastal Carolina's lead in half. Gray then knocked down 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to put the Chanticleers in front 74-66.
"LSU controlled the game early," Coastal Carolina coach Cliff Ellis said. "We came back and got control. But then we let it slip away and get into overtime. A team can easily fold in that situation as momentum changes, but we didn't. We actually ended up winning the game by nine points, surprisingly."
Holloway added 18 points for Coastal Carolina and the Chanticleers received a huge boost from Holmes, who played his first game since transferring from South Carolina. In 24 minutes, Holmes contributed 14 points and 10 rebounds. Coastal Carolina outrebounded LSU 45-35.
"It is a signature win for us," Ellis said. "I told our players that I wanted them to savor this because it is a special moment. It took a lot of grit and determination to pull this off."
Andre Stringer led the Tigers (6-3) with 16 points, while Ralston Turner contributed 15 points. No other LSU player scored in double figures. After shooting 56 percent (14 of 25) in the first half, the Tigers were just 12 of 39 from the field for the rest of the game.
"It was 45-35 off the glass and we gave up 16 offensive rebounds," LSU coach Trent Johnson said. "Obviously, if you don't shoot the ball also, it's going to be tough to beat anybody. That was pretty much the game right there."
LSU, which fell behind by nine points in the second half, tied the score at 58 on a free throw by Malcolm White with 3:34 remaining in regulation. White again tied the score at 60 with a field goal after Danny Nieman sank a pair of foul shots.
Holmes gave Coastal Carolina the lead with his layup at the 1:46 mark. Following a Tigers turnover when Aaron Dotson was unable to inbound the ball, Gray extended the Chanticleers' lead to four points with two foul shots.
But LSU was able to send the game into overtime on two free throws by Turner and a basket by Warren with 9 seconds remaining.
The Chanticleers went on a 14-0 run early in the second half to take their biggest lead of the night at 50-41. Gray scored eight of the 14 points with three baskets, including two 3-pointers. LSU missed 12 of its first 14 second-half field goal attempts.
The Tigers ended their 4½-minute scoring drought when Dotson made one of two free throws. Turner followed with a 3-pointer to bring LSU within five, 50-45, midway through the second half. The Tigers trailed 54-50 after Green's putback with 7:54 to play.