FARMVILLE, Va. – Charleston Southern staged a 17-5 run to snap a 50-50 second half tie and pull away from Longwood for a 77-65 win Thursday at Willett Hall. The victory, CSU's third straight and fifth in its last six games, pulls the Bucs into a three-way tie for sixth place in the Big South with three regular season games remaining.
CSU (12-14, 7-8 Big South) continued its late season surge by controlling the stretch run just as it did in previous wins over Liberty and Presbyterian. Five different players scored during the decisive 17-5 spurt as the Bucs turned a 50-50 tie at the 9:40 mark into a 67-55 lead with 4:46 left. Longwood (6-22, 3-12 Big South) came no closer than nine points the rest of the way as CSU secured a season sweep of the Lancers and its fifth consecutive win in the series.
Cortez Mitchell spearheaded a balanced effort with 17 points and six rebounds. He and Phlandrous Fleming Jr. each collected three steals to help CSU harass Longwood into 19 turnovers. Christian Keeling added 15 markers, while Jordan Jones posted ten thanks to a perfect shooting night.
CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh was proud of another gritty performance that saw the Bucs limit Longwood to 39 percent shooting.
"Our defensive effort down the stretch was amazing," Radebaugh said. "It was a big effort from our guys in the second half and they showed great heart and determination to win. It was not the prettiest game that we've played offensively but we made a lot of tough plays late and were able to fight our way through on the road for a second straight game."
How It Happened
- CSU tallied the first nine points of its 17-5 run consecutively to take control. Travis McConico scored on an offensive stick back and Javis Howard made a layup before Fleming went on a personal 5-0 spurt. He hit two free throws and then recorded a three-point play after leaping up to make an acrobatic steal near midcourt. The 9-0 blitz required only 30 seconds of game time.
- Isaiah Walton drained a three-pointer to momentarily quell CSU's momentum but the Bucs responded with eight of the next ten. A Keeling drive and a Mitchell pull-up jumper highlighted that sequence.
- In the first half, both teams reeled off extended runs at the outset. Longwood built a 9-0 advantage in the opening 2:28, only to see CSU record a 12-0 run over the ensuing 2:50. Threes from McConico and Sean Price sandwiched dunks by Jones and Howard to spark that stretch.
- Longwood took a lead as large as six later in the stanza and enjoyed a 33-31 halftime edge before CSU controlled the second half.
Inside the Numbers
- CSU is now a perfect 4-0 all-time in Farmville.
- The Bucs attacked the basket in the second half, getting to the free-throw line 21 times and converting 16. CSU did not attempt a free throw in the first half.
- CSU forced 19 turnovers, marking the 17th time this season its forced at least 15. The Bucs have turned that trick in 11 of their 15 conference games. They forced a season-high 29 in their 84-43 rout of Longwood at the Buc Dome on Dec. 30. CSU ranked 20th nationally in turnovers forced (16.1 per game) entering play.
- The defensive showing marked the second straight game and ninth time this year that CSU has held its opponent below 40 percent shooting.
CSU hosts league co-leader UNC Asheville Sunday at the Buc Dome. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. The contest starts a three-game regular season closing stretch where the Bucs will take on the top teams in the league standings (entering Thursday night).