CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern wraps up its non-conference schedule Thursday against Johnson & Wales (N.C.). Tipoff at the Buc Dome is set for 7:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on the Big South Network.
*Promotion – For Sponsor Appreciation Night, fans with receipts from the following sponsors of CSU Athletics will receive free admission: Chick-fil-A, East Bay Deli, Moe's, Papa John's, Raising Cane's, Subway, Wingate by Wyndham, and Willie Jewell's Old School Bar-B-Q
Following the game, CSU (4-6) will take a brief break for Christmas before returning to practice in preparation for the Dec. 30 Big South Conference opener against Longwood. CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh was encouraged by his team's effort Monday at No. 24 Florida State and hopes the Bucs will use the Johnson & Wales contest as another opportunity to improve.
"I thought we grew up a bit," Radebaugh said after the Bucs out-rebounded the nationally ranked Seminoles by 13. "We were really patient offensively against their length in the first half and our effort was there throughout the night. Our focus all along has been growing with December 30th in mind and we're pleased with our progress. We'll keep working."
Johnson & Wales, a United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) program out of Charlotte, has dropped seven consecutive games following a 2-0 start. Three of those losses came against Division I opponents in Campbell, High Point and Wofford. J&W is led by sophomore wing Majerle Poole, who tallied 15 points against CSU last year and is averaging 19 points per game this season.
CSU downed Johnson & Wales, 100-53, last December. The Bucs dealt the Wildcats a 97-65 loss in Charleston two years ago.
David makes impact in first career start
Jamaal David earned his first career start at point guard in Monday's loss at Florida State. David logged a career-high 31 minutes and handed out a season-best four assists while handling the Seminoles' pressure and running the Bucs' offense well for much of the night. David, a redshirt freshman, also recorded eight points and four rebounds. Prior to the FSU game, David had not played more than 19 minutes in any of CSU's first nine games.
Bucs deliver strong effort in Tallahassee
CSU trailed by just two points at halftime and out-rebounded No. 24 Florida State by 13 but the Seminoles shot 67 percent in the second half to pull away and prevail, 69-58, on Monday. The Bucs built an 18-14 first half lead and closed the opening stanza on a 6-0 spurt to draw within 28-26 at halftime. CSU out-rebounded FSU 39-26 overall and 15-4 on the offensive glass. The Bucs doubled up the 'Noles on the glass, 24-12, in the first half.
Keeling continues to score at high level
Sophomore guard Christian Keeling notched his fourth straight 20-point outing with a game-high 21 Monday at Florida State. Keeling is 31-for-57 (54%) from the field and 9-of-18 (50%) from three-point range over that four-game stretch. He would rank second in the Big South in scoring if he had played in enough games to qualify (players must appear in 75% of team's games). He now has 14 career 20-point games. Keeling, with 667 points, has a chance to become the fourth player in Big South history to reach 1,000 career points as a sophomore.
McConico pacing CSU newcomers
Junior forward Travis McConico has made the biggest impact among CSU's ten first-year players. McConico is the Bucs' leading scorer and rebounder and paces the club with 15 steals. He currently ranks among the Big South's top ten in made three-pointers (5th), steals (T-5th) and rebounding (6th). McConico matched season highs with 17 points and five treys against Florida State.
CSU has started four underclassmen in all ten of its games. Four different freshmen – Deontaye Buskey, Jamaal David, Phlandrous Fleming Jr. and Ty Jones – have earned starts. Thus far, over 59 percent of the Bucs' points and 62 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.