CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern shot 53 percent and placed four players in double figures to control the game throughout and defeat High Point, 83-74, Thursday at the Buc Dome.
CSU (9-13, 4-7 Big South) took the lead for good on a Travis McConico three-pointer with 7:31 left in the first half and answered every High Point (10-12, 5-6 Big South) surge to avenge a 21-point road loss to the Panthers on Jan. 6. McConico posted a career-high 18 points, while Christian Keeling pumped in 23 to pace a balanced effort that saw the Bucs match a season high (against Division I competition) with 16 assists.
CSU put the game away with a 15-6 run after High Point pulled within three points courtesy of a 7-0 spurt. Deontaye Buskey started the decisive sequence with a layup and Sean Price capped it with a triple form the corner to stake CSU to a 70-58 advantage at the 3:48 mark. The Panthers came no closer than seven the rest of the way as CSU collected its second consecutive win.
"I give a lot of credit to our guys," CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh said afterward. "We know High Point's a very talented team with a lot of offensive firepower and they got us pretty good there so we were excited about to the opportunity to see if we could improve. We still a have a lot to work on but we're getting to the point where we're seeing some improvement."
"I thought our execution was terrific and we hit some big shots down the stretch," Radebaugh continued. "We've really emphasized being calm late and relaxing to just play. Our guys are starting to do that and we're excited about continuing to grow."
How It Happened
- CSU led 38-31 at halftime and stretched its edge to ten twice in the first half of the second stanza. The Bucs were in front 55-45 with 11:12 remaining before the Panthers reeled off a 7-0 spurt in just 1:23 to close the gap to three on a Jahaad Proctor trey. High Point had two possessions with a chance to come within one or tie but came up empty on both, though, and CSU proceeded to reassert command.
- Five different players scored for CSU during its 15-6 push. Ty Jones tallied six of his ten points to power the run. Price drained a three off a pretty extra pass from Javis Howard to send the Bucs' cushion to 70-58 with 3:48 left. High Point cut its deficit to seven just 19 seconds later but Keeling buried a tough contested triple to put CSU back up ten and silence the comeback attempt.
- In the first half, both teams were in sync offensively, with each side hovering near 60 percent shooting until the five-minute mark. High Point's Jordan Whitehead gave the Panthers their only lead, 2-0, 16 second into play.
- CSU opened up a 19-12 lead with a 7-0 flurry, only to see High Point respond to tie the game at 26 apiece on one of Denny Slay's four treys. McConico countered with one of his four triples to give the Bucs an advantage they would never relinquish.
- CSU also ratcheted up its defense late in the opening period, holding High Point without a field goal over the final 5:15. That was enough to make up for the Bucs' 3:05 scoreless drought to end the half.
Inside the Numbers
- Keeling scored 16 of his 23 after intermission to pace CSU. It was his second consecutive 20-point game, eighth of the season and 18th of his two-year career.
- McConico recorded new career highs with 18 points and four assists. Phlandrous Fleming Jr. added 15 while Jones chipped in ten.
- Slay, who was averaging only four points per game, poured in a career-high 24 to lead all scorers. The output was 12 points past the freshman guard's previous high.
- CSU assisted 16 of its 28 field goals and connected on 9-of-20 three-point attempts. The 16 assists matched a season high (vs. D-I foes) previously set against Longwood.
- CSU forced 15 turnovers, marking the 14th time this season its forced at least that many. The Bucs entered played 18th nationally in forced turnovers per game (16.52).
CSU faces a quick turnaround in less than 48 hours Saturday at Gardner-Webb. Tipoff at Paul Porter Arena in Boiling Springs, N.C., is set for 3 p.m.