CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern returns home Tuesday to host Radford at the Buc Dome. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on the Big South Network.
CSU (6-8, 1-2 Big South) is looking to rebound from a difficult road trip while Radford (10-6, 3-0 Big South) is bidding to remain the Big South's lone unbeaten team in conference play.
The Bucs thumped Longwood by 41 points in their league opener but suffered decisive losses at Liberty and High Point last week. The Highlanders, who were picked seventh in the Big South preseason poll, sport victories over Presbyterian, Winthrop and UNC Asheville. Radford recorded an impressive win Saturday, downing the preseason favorite Bulldogs, 90-70.
Tuesday's matchup features two of the league's top rebounding clubs. CSU leads the conference in offensive rebounds and is second with a +6.0 rebounding margin. Radford is second in the circuit in offensive boards and third with a +4.7 rebounding margin. The Highlanders possess arguably the league's top rebounding tandem in forwards Ed Polite Jr. and Randy Phillips. Polite has been on a tear in three conference games, averaging 25.3 points and 11.7 rebounds while shooting 66 percent overall and 9-of-16 from three-point range.
The contest also features two of the league's top freshmen. Radford guard Carlik Jones was named Big South Freshman of the Week for the third straight week and fifth time overall on Monday. CSU's Phlandrous Fleming Jr. leads all league freshmen in rebounding and is second in scoring.
Each team won on its home floor in last year's season series. Christian Keeling scored a career-high 33 points against Radford in CSU's January triumph. Radford knocked down 14 threes in a 79-67 win over the Bucs last February.
Bucs making big defensive strides
CSU currently ranks second in the Big South in field goal percentage defense and fourth in scoring defense. The Bucs were ninth – second-to-last – in both those categories a year ago. CSU has held seven of its first 14 opponents below 40 percent shooting.
CSU ranks 34th nationally in turnovers forced (16.36 per game) and 37th in steals per game (8.1). The Bucs forced 51 turnovers in their first two Big South games, including 29 in a suffocating defensive showing against Longwood. Liberty entered the Jan. 2 game averaging just 12.2 turnovers but was harried into 12 in the first half and 22 overall. CSU has recorded ten or more steals five times this year. The Bucs have forced 15 or more turnovers seven times, including 20 or more on four occasions.
Jones gives Bucs boost at High Point
Jordan Jones came off the bench for the first time this season at High Point and delivered arguably his best effort of the campaign. Jones set new career-highs in minutes played (22) and rebounds (7). His nine points were the most he's recorded against Division I competition.