ABILENE, Tex. – Charleston Southern continues its November slate on Tuesday at Abilene Christian. Tipoff at Moody Coliseum is slated for 8 p.m. ET and a live video stream is available (for a fee) on acusports.com. Fans can also listen to coverage on csusports.com. The matchup is the first of a home-and-home series that will see the Wildcats make a return trip to Charleston on Dec. 3.
CSU (1-2) is looking to bounce back from a tough 79-77 home loss to USC Upstate on Saturday. The Bucs rallied from a five-point halftime deficit to take a seven-point lead with 10:31 remaining but the Spartans came out on top in a back and forth affair that featured ten ties and 12 lead changes. Mike Cunningham's difficult step-back three-pointer with seven seconds left provided the difference.
Abilene Christian (2-0) is looking to stay perfect as it plays its first game in five days. The Wildcats opened their home schedule with a Non-Division I win before picking up an impressive road victory at New Hampshire. New Hampshire had defeated Temple, a perennial NCAA Tournament contender, before Abilene went to the Granite State and registered a 65-57 win. Abilene led 34-17 at halftime and by as many as 26 in the second half.
CSU practiced Sunday night at home and again Monday in Abilene following a long day of travel that saw the Bucs fly into Dallas before making the two-and-half hour ride east. Another gauge game against an opponent from a similar conference should provide another litmus test before CSU ends the season's opening month against Toccoa Falls (Nov. 26) and Alabama (Nov. 29).
This is the first-ever meeting between the two teams and CSU's sixth game against a current member of the Southland Conference. CSU has won its last two such contests. The Bucs won a wild double overtime game at Central Arkansas in December of 2013 and then rolled past the Bears at home a year later.
Howard matches career high
Javis Howard equaled a career-high with 12 rebounds and added 16 points to record his fourth career double-double against USC Upstate. Howard grabbed eight of his 12 boards on the offensive glass, helping CSU compile an 18-8 advantage in second chance points.
Keeling's strong play continues
Christian Keeling filled up the stat sheet with 15 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals versus the Spartans. His acrobatic up-and-under layup brought CSU within a point late. Moments later, Keeling came up with a steal and found Patrick Wallace for a spot-up three in transition to give the Bucs a 77-75 lead with 21 seconds remaining. Keeling has been very efficient through three games, averaging 16.7 points per game on 54 percent shooting.
Martin providing boost off the bench
CSU junior Jamar Martin did not shoot the ball particularly well against Upstate but still contributed five points, seven rebounds, two assists and a steal in 26 minutes of play. Martin gave the Bucs one of the highlights of the night with a left-handed tip-in that led to a three-point play. Martin is the Bucs' third leading scorer and tallied 12 points in each of their first two games. He buried four three-pointers against Florida State and added two more in the CIU win. Martin was a First-Team All-Region XIV pick last year at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas.
Potter named Preseason All-Big South
Armel Potter was picked to the Big South Preseason All-Conference Second-Team in October. Potter led all Big South freshmen in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio last year, while ranking second in scoring. He led CSU in nearly every major statistical category outside of rebounding. Potter posted five 20-point games and 21 double figure efforts. He is the first Buc to receive preseason recognition since Saah Nimley and Arlon Harper in 2014-15.
Newcomers excel on Canada trip
CSU will lean heavily on contributions from seven newcomers (eight, counting redshirt freshman Antwan Maxwell) and several of those players stood out this August in Canada. Freshman guard Christian Keeling was CSU's leading scorer at 18 points per game, scored 24 points in a rout of Windsor and capped the trip with a 19 point, four rebound, four steal effort against Toronto. Cortez Mitchell, a transfer from Pearl River Community College, tallied a team-high 18 points in a thorough 83-63 win over Humber College. Antwan Maxwell recorded ten points and seven rebounds in the Toronto game. Jamaal David, Jordan Jones, Jamar Martin and Jamal Thomas all saw significant minutes as well and contributed to a pressure-filled defensive effort throughout each game.