CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern bids for its fifth consecutive win Tuesday at the Buc Dome against VMI. Tipoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on the Big South Network.
PROMOTIONS: An 'ugly sweater' contest will be held, with the winning fan receiving a Nike gift card. Various other door prizes, stocking stuffers and Christmas themed giveaways will be passed out throughout the night. At halftime, fans will be treated to the debut performance of the CSU dance team.
CSU (4-2) is fresh off a 64-62 overtime victory at Illinois State Saturday. The Bucs held the Redbirds to 33 percent shooting, including a 0-for-8 clip in overtime, and posted a 47-40 rebounding advantage to knock off the defending Missouri Valley Conference regular season co-champions.
VMI (2-3) suffered a 69-64 setback at American Saturday. The Keydets had won two in a row, by 20 points over Presbyterian and by 15 over Division II Ohio Valley, prior to that contest.
CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh was thrilled with the way his team overcame a poor offensive showing against a quality Illinois State program. He knows the Bucs will need to reset their focus to come away with a fifth straight victory before a two-week break from game action.
"We've been preaching defense and rebounding," Radebaugh said after Saturday's win. "Our team plays with a lot of effort and it showed the last two weeks winning close games on the road. VMI is a challenge to prepare for stylistically and beat us last year up in Lexington so we need to be ready to go and continue to improve our level of execution to match our effort and attitude."
The Keydets are in their third season under head coach Dan Earl, a former Navy assistant who instituted a methodical pace of play in place of the frantic up-and-down style VMI employed under Duggar Baucom. Like CSU, VMI leans heavily on youth. The Keydets' top five scorers are underclassmen. Sophomore forward Tyler Creammer, standing 6-10 and 245 pounds, leads the team with averages of 13.2 points and seven rebounds per game.
Defense & rebounding propel CSU over Illinois State
Charleston Southern was able to beat Illinois State despite shooting 38 percent overall, 4-for-19 from three-point range and 10-of-18 at the foul line. The Bucs' effort, defense and rebounding were enough to overcome those numbers. CSU limited Illinois State to 33 percent shooting and held the Redbirds without a field goal (0-for-8) in overtime. Paced by Travis McConico's 11 rebounds, the Bucs recorded a 47-40 rebounding advantage and produced 22 second-chance points via 18 offensive boards. Fourteen of CSU's 34 first half points came on second chances, as the Bucs out-rebounded the Redbirds 23-14 in the opening stanza.
CSU is riding a four-game winning streak for the first time since February of 2015. The Bucs ran off a pair of five-game winning streaks during that season to capture their second Big South Conference regular season championship in three years.
CSU has started four underclassmen in all six of its games. Three freshmen have started in five of those contests. Thus far, nearly 68 percent of the Bucs' points and 67 percent of their rebounds have come from first-year players. Javis Howard (fourth season in program) is CSU's only player with multiple seasons of Division I experience prior to this year.
Last year vs. VMI
CSU built an early 12-point lead last December at VMI before the Keydets rallied for an 88-83 victory. VMI knocked down 12-of-25 attempts from three-point range and placed four players in double figures. Christian Keeling scored 17 points in the game for CSU and set career-highs in attempted and made free throws (13-for-17).