BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Charleston Southern rallied from a 14-point second half deficit to force a tie but Gardner-Webb's Patrick Zeck scored on a tip-in with 11 seconds remaining to lift the Runnin' Bulldogs to a 63-61 win Saturday at Paul Porter Arena.
CSU (9-14, 4-8 Big South) trailed 45-31 at the 15:02 mark before methodically chipping away to nearly hand Gardner-Webb (12-13, 7-5 Big South) its first home loss. Down five with less than a minute to play, Christian Keeling hit a three-pointer and the Bucs forced a turnover shortly after the ensuing inbounds pass to knot the score at 61 apiece on Cortez Mitchell's steal and layup with 40 seconds left. On GWU's last possession, though, Zeck followed up an errant runner from David Efianayi to provide the difference. Keeling's shot in the lane at the buzzer fell short on CSU's final trip, allowing GWU to improve to 10-0 at home.
CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh was proud of the resolve his team showed to nearly overcome a tough shooting night that saw the Bucs connect on just 39 percent overall and 5-of-18 attempts from downtown.
"It was an incredible effort by our guys and they showed tremendous tenacity," Radebaugh said. "We did a great job in the second half to carry out our game plan defensively and hold them to 33 percent from the floor. We had tremendous desire and want-to to win this game but came up just short against a good team on their home court."
How It Happened
- GWU ended the first half on an 18-7 run to take a 39-29 lead into intermission and then pushed its cushion to 14 on Efianayi's lay-in with 15:02 left. Aided by its stout second half defensive effort, the Bucs were able to hang around and threaten in the closing seconds.
- In a game where both teams struggled to find an offensive rhythm for much of the afternoon, both teams enjoyed no more than a two-score lead until GWU asserted control late in the stanza. CSU took its biggest advantage, 11-6, at the 12:30 mark following Travis McConico's lone three of the contest.
- Phlandrous Fleming Jr.'s fast break layup gave the Bucs their final edge, 22-21, with 6:14 remaining. Efianayi buried a triple on the Runnin' Bulldogs ensuing possession to jumpstart their 18-7 run. Jaheem Cornwall added a three of his own during that surge to help GWU take momentum into halftime.
Inside the Numbers
- Keeling led CSU with 15 points to reach double figures for the 31st consecutive game.
- Ty Jones tallied eight of his ten points in the second half to reach double figures for the fourth time in five games. The freshman forward also pulled in a game and career-high nine rebounds to pace CSU to a 36-30 advantage on the glass.
- Cornwall and Liam O'Reilly led five GWU players in double figures with 14 points. Cornwall did not play in CSU's win over GWU at the Buc Dome 13 days ago. O'Reilly had matched a career high with 27 points in the first meeting between the two clubs.
CSU returns home to play Liberty on Wednesday. The Flames have won three straight games to get to 6-6 in league play. Tipoff at the Buc Dome is set for 7:30 p.m.