CHARLESTON, S.C. – Christian Keeling and Phlandrous Fleming Jr. combined for 46 points to power one of Charleston Southern's best offensive performances of the season and lead the Bucs over Gardner-Webb, 83-68, Sunday at the Buc Dome.
CSU (7-12, 2-6 Big South) erased a pair of eight-point first half deficits to take a one-point halftime lead and then controlled the second half against a Gardner-Webb (10-11, 5-3 Big South) club that was playing for a share of first place in the Big South. Keeling and Fleming scored 14 points apiece after intermission and Ty Jones added all 12 of his markers in the second half to help the Bucs pull away.
CSU assisted 15 of its 26 field goals and shot 51 percent overall while burying 10-of-20 tries from three-point range. The Bucs also forced 19 turnovers en route to posting a 29-10 edge in points off turnovers.
CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh was pleased to see his team play more relaxed and execute offensively.
"I'm really happy for our guys," Radebaugh said afterward. "The way we've handled this tough stretch has been a great sign for a young team. Nothing bothers them. They come to work with a positive attitude and have kept working to get better every day."
"I thought tonight was the best we've played this year," Radebaugh continued. "It helps to see the ball go in. I was most pleased with our calmness down the stretch with a lead against the press and the way our freshmen and sophomores stepped up and made free throws. It was impressive against a good team and it's certainly a stepping stone for us."
How It Happened
- Jones started the second half and hit a three to spark a 7-0 spurt out of the halftime locker room. Deontaye Buskey secured a steal and layup and Fleming knocked down a jumper to put the Bucs in front 38-30 and force a Runnin' Bulldog timeout with 18:28 remaining.
- CSU pushed the lead to 52-40 on a Keeling jumper at the 13:44 mark before GWU mounted its most serious threat of the stanza. David Efianayi tallied five consecutive points and Eric Jamison scored in the paint to pull the Runnin' Bulldogs within five. GWU had two opportunities to make it a one-possession game but came up empty and CSU proceeded to go on a 12-0 run to create distance.
- Following a Keeling layup, Fleming buried back-to-back triples to energize the crowd and force another GWU timeout. Howard connected on two free throws and Jones sailed through a jumper to cap the critical sequence and give the Bucs a 64-47 advantage with 8:14 remaining.
- GWU came as close as eight with 2:13 left but CSU went 17-for-19 at the free-throw line in the second half to avoid any real scare.
- In the first half, GWU mounted a 12-0 run – holding CSU scoreless for 6:30 – to build a 20-12 lead. Liam O'Reilly closed that run with two of his seven threes.
- CSU recorded its own 12-0 run, holding GWU scoreless for 6:41, to respond and take a 28-24 lead later in the period. Fleming hit a three and Keeling went on a personal 7-0 spurt to highlight that surge for the Bucs.
- Fleming and O'Reilly traded treys over the final 26 seconds of the first half to make it a 31-30 CSU lead at the break. O'Reilly was a perfect 5-for-5 from beyond the arc over the opening 20 minutes.
Inside the Numbers
- O'Reilly matched a career high with 27 points to pace all scorers.
- Keeling notched 26 to lead CSU, marking his sixth 20-point game of the season and 16th of his young career. Keeling also went over 800 career points and now has 808 through 47 games.
- Fleming finished just one point off his career high with 20 points. The freshman was efficient, going 6-for-10 from the field and 4-of-6 from downtown.
- Jones's 12 points are a career high against Division I competition.
- CSU shot a season-best (against Division I competition) 50 percent (10-of-20) from three. The Bucs' 51 percent field goal mark was their second highest of the campaign against a Division I foe.
- CSU forced 19 turnovers, marking the 11th time this season its forced 15 or more. The Bucs entered play 26th nationally in turnovers forced.
CSU concludes the first half of its league schedule Wednesday against Presbyterian. Tipoff at the Buc Dome is slated for 7:30 p.m.