CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern embarks on the road portion of its Big South Conference schedule Wednesday at Campbell. Tipoff at Gore Arena in Buies, Creek, N.C. is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on the Big South Network.
CSU (4-9, 0-2 Big South) is looking to bounce back after a challenging opening weekend of league play. The Bucs fell to Winthrop, the Big South's heavy favorite, and Liberty, the number two pick in the preseason poll. Campbell (8-6, 1-1 Big South) rebounded from a two-point loss at Longwood to beat Presbyterian at home on Saturday.
Both clubs feature young rotations looking to develop continuity as the 18-game conference grind progresses. The teams split last year's series, with each winning on the road. CSU rallied from a ten-point second half deficit to win in Buies Creek in January before Campbell pulled out a two-point victory in Charleston a month later.
Campbell is led by the Big South's top scorer in sophomore guard Chris Clemons. Clemons has posted ten 20-point games already this year, and ranks among the league's top-ten in nine different statistical categories. The 5-9 dynamo is the reigning Big South Freshman of the Year and sits just 133 points away from becoming the third player in conference history to reach 1,000 career points as a sophomore.
Improvement on the defensive end has been a chief focus for CSU. The Bucs were tested against high octane Georgia and Virginia Tech offenses prior to Christmas break before starting the league slate with a dynamic Winthrop squad. Making continued strides defensively figures to be important against what appears to be an improved Campbell team. The Fighting Camels are currently second in the Big South in scoring offense, field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage and made threes.
Charleston Southern is 6-3 against Campbell since the Camels re-joined the Big South for the 2011-12 season. Included in that run is a 2014 Big South Championship First Round win in which the Bucs rallied from a 15-point first half deficit. The two schools had been Big South mates from the inception of the league in 1985-86 until Campbell departed for the Trans America Athletic Conference in 1994-95.
Robinson hoping for more success vs. Campbell
CSU senior Rae Robinson averaged 23 points per game while shooting 53 percent from the floor and 52 percent (11-for-21) from three-point range last year against Campbell. Robinson hit for a then career-high 19 points to key the Bucs' comeback win at Campbell, and then went for a new benchmark of 27 at home a month later. Robinson sunk three threes in a span of 1:46 to spark CSU's decisive 19-2 run in the first matchup. He buried seven triples in the rematch to help the Bucs nearly secure a season sweep.
Potter posted career day in Bucs' last trip to Gore Arena
Armel Potter capped a big freshman year with a big performance in the first round of last season's Big South Championship. He tallied a career-high 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting in CSU's close loss to Longwood. Potter buried a career-high six threes in the game, and opened 4-of-4 from the field with two treys to key an 18-6 game-opening run versus the Lancers.
Howard leads Big South in offensive boards
CSU junior Javis Howard currently leads the Big South and ranks 31st nationally with 3.5 offensive rebounds per game. Over 56 percent of Howard's rebounds this year have come on the offensive glass. Howard pulled down a career-high nine offensive boards in the league opener against Winthrop. He followed with a 14-point, nine-rebound effort against Liberty. Prior to those two games, Howard had collected just ten total rebounds in CSU's four prior contests.
Keeling living up to billing
CSU guard Christian Keeling has showcased the form that made him last season's Augusta Chronicle Georgia Basketball Player of the Year. Keeling is second among Big South freshman in scoring and is tied for sixth overall. He has scored in double figures in all but two games, a stretch highlighted by a 24-point performance at Virginia Tech. Keeling's aggressive mentality has also been evident on the glass, as he ranks ninth in the conference with 6.1 rebounds per game. Keeling has twice been named Big South Freshman of the Week.