CHARLESTON, S.C. – Antwan Maxwell hit a go-ahead three-pointer with 33 seconds left to help lift Charleston Southern to a 71-65 overtime win over Presbyterian on Saturday at the Buc Dome.
Maxwell's trey followed a steal and finished off the redshirt freshman's first career double-double of 12 points and ten rebounds. CSU (8-15, 4-8 Big South) then came up with two defensive stops and got four clutch free throws from freshman Christian Keeling to close out its 12th consecutive victory over Presbyterian (5-18, 1-11 Big South).
PC played from behind nearly the entire way, chipping away at an early 20-6 deficit. The Blue Hose tied the game and forced overtime courtesy of Darius Moore's corner triple with 16 seconds remaining in regulation. Jo'Vontae Millner, who led PC with 19 points – all after halftime – recorded a three-point play for a 65-64 advantage at the 2:09 mark of overtime, prior to Maxwell and Keeling's heroics.
Keeling was a perfect 9-for-9 at the free-throw line en route to pacing the Bucs with 22 points. Raemond Robinson and Javis Howard joined the freshmen in double figures scoring with 13 and 10, respectively. PC's Ed Drew contributed a double-double of 18 points and ten rebounds, while Moore added 14 and the Blue Hose only two threes of the contest.
CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh remarked on the efforts of some of the young Bucs, enabling them to overcome 33 percent shooting and a 10-for-37 clip from beyond the arc.
"Our freshmen came up big," Radebaugh said. "Our redshirt freshman (Maxwell) hit a big three for us and then another freshman (Keeling) stepped up to the line and made some big free throws. We have to play a lot better. We had a chance to put the game away early in the second half and just didn't do it. Certainly, that was a big shot by Antwan because we were in a little bit of a rut."
"It's a gut out win," Radebaugh continued. "Sometimes, you've gotta win 'em like this. We're focused on improvement and this week will be another good opportunity to do that."
Following Maxwell's three, Presbyterian missed its best opportunity to tie the game when Reggie Dillard left a layup short. The Blue Hose had another chance with the ball after two missed free throws but committed a turnover. Keeling stepped to the charity stripe with 12 seconds on the clock and effectively sealed the win with two makes.
CSU led 31-23 at intermission and was still in front by 11 following Jamal Thomas' three at the 13:53 mark. PC methodically rallied from there, eventually bringing the tally to one score, 49-46, on Drew's layup at the 6:29 mark. Millner had a run of four straight points moments later, tying the game at 54 apiece on a driving layup in traffic with 4:04 left. Maxwell drained a jumper and Keeling dropped in one of his own, providing CSU a 58-54 advantage. PC would eventually knot the score at 59 apiece, forcing overtime, when Moore hit nothing but net from deep in the right corner.
The Bucs started hot against the Blue Hose zone defense, sinking five of their first ten three-point tries to forge a 20-6 lead. Patrick Wallace connected on two, with the latter putting CSU up 14 barely seven minutes into play. Robinson, Maxwell and Keeling all knocked down threes as well during that opening stretch.
PC settled in after a cold start, though, eventually drawing within 26-21 on Drew's free three with 5:25 left. Keeling hit a jumper for the final points of the stanza, sending CSU into the break on top by eight.
CSU next heads to the state of Virginia for the first of two times in the month of February. The Bucs will first take on Radford this Thursday, with tipoff at the Dedmon Center slated for 7 p.m.