CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern was unable to withstand a strong second half run by visiting Coastal Carolina on Saturday afternoon as the Buccaneers fell to the visiting Chanticleers inside the Buc Dome, 77-63.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Buccaneers as Charleston Southern came out strong shooting 46.9 percent from the floor in the first half behind 11 first half points by Erin Bratcher in taking the 39-33 halftime lead. However, a 14-4 run out of the gates by the Chanticleers in the second half swung the advantage firmly in favor of Coastal Carolina and the Chants led by as many as 11 midway through the second half in closing out the Big South win.
The Buccaneers fell to 7-10, 3-5 overall in Big South play in the loss, while Coastal Carolina improved to 9-9, 5-4 with the victory.
"It was a hard fought battle today," head coach Fred Applin had to say following the loss. "The difference was the free throws. We knew they were going to make runs and get to the line, but we also didn't box out. I'm kind of disappointed with that. It really hurt us today. We got beat on the boards today and that will kill you ever time. We executed, but we need to just continue to play; do what we do and do what we do well. We needed a complete 40 minutes of basketball."
Charleston Southern had three players in double-digits in the scoring column in the afternoon paced by 16 points by Anicia Dotson, while Bratcher and Fowler had 14 apiece for the Buccaneers in the loss. CSU shot 36.8 percent as a team from the floor and struggled to take advantage of 17 Coastal Carolina turnovers in the game in the loss.
"We didn't look for our shots in the second half nearly as well as we did in the first half," Applin said about the difference between the halves. "We didn't pass nearly as well or look for open players in the post. That is something we've got to do better. We're going to get back in here and practice after a day off tomorrow and do what we need to do to get better and improve as a basketball team and get read y for our next two game."
The Chants held the 46-30 rebounding edge led by AJ Jordan's 17 point, 13 rebound double-double on the afternoon as five Coastal Carolina players were in double-digits on the afternoon. Angelica Henry connected on 15 points and filled the statistics sheet with nine rebounds, eight assists and six steals, while Alexx Puckett and Karsen Sims had 12 points apiece. Megan Pittman added 10 points and eight rebounds off the bench for the Chants as Coastal shot 50.9 percent as a team and a perfect 13-for-13 from the free throw line in the win.
Charleston Southern jumped out to a 15-6 lead behind senior forward Anicia Dotson. Dotson buried a three-pointer from the right wing to give the Bucs a 7-4 lead, and classmate Erin Bratcher hit one in transition moments later to push the CSU advantage to four. Dotson then tallied five quick points to stretch the Bucs' advantage to nine, as she drove the lane for a layup and then knocked down another triple off a feed from Bratcher.
Both offenses were clicking at the start, though, as Coastal rallied with nine quick points to tie the game at 15-15. The Chanticleers' Karsen Sims sailed through a three from the corner and AJ Jordan penetrated inside for two straight baskets to even the tally.
The back-and-forth nature of the fast-paced first half continued, as Bratcher gave CSU the lead again with a baby hook shot off a pretty high-low pass from Alyssa Mann. Bratcher stepped back out to the perimeter on the following possession, swishing a corner three to give the Bucs a 20-15 lead.
Coastal was able to beat the CSU press several times and convert on the fast break to keep pace. Megan Pittman hit a three, and Jordan converted scored on a pair of drives to bring the Chanticleers within two. Alexx Puckett gave Costal its first lead shortly after, hitting a baseline jumper to push the Chanticleers in front, 26-24.
CSU countered to take the lead right back, 31-29, as DJ Fowler got to the rim for a three-point play and Dotson made a layup off another excellent pass from Mann.
With the score tied, 33-33, CSU scored the final six points of the entertaining stanza to take a 39-33 edge into halftime. Fowler keyed the late stretch, hitting Mann for a left-wing trey before drawing a charge to get the Bucs' possession back. Bratcher continued her hot shooting on CSU's next trip down the floor, drilling a three from nearly the same spot for the final points of the half.
Fowler scored the first basket of the second half on a driving bank shot to push CSU's lead to 41-33. The lead stayed at six in the early stages of the half, as Mann freed herself up with a pump fake and hit a baseline floater to put the Bucs up 45-39.
The Chanticleers answered back, however, going on an 8-0 run to take a 47-45 lead. Angelica Henry secured a steal and found Henry leaking out for a layup to tie the game, before Pittman put Coastal on top with a pair of free throws. The lead was short-lived, as Bratcher hit the offensive glass for a put back while being found and made the ensuing free throw for a three-point play to give CSU a 48-47 edge.
Coastal came with another response, holding CSU scoreless for 5:52 during a 12-0 run to take control and assume a 59-48 advantage. Jordan was the catalyst, as the Chanticleers' leading scorer hit a jumper and cashed in an old-fashioned three-point play to start the critical stretch. Sims knocked down a three from the corner to put the Bucs behind by seven, and Henry eventually ended the spurt with a baseline drive.
CSU scored five straight to close the gap to 59-53. Fowler made a tough step back three, and Jarvis knocked down a mid-range jumper after an offensive rebound by Monique Maximilien. That was as close as the Bucs would draw; however, as the Chanticleers scored seven of the next nine to retake a double-digit lead and never led by less than eight the rest of the way. Henry scored on a pair of drives, and Pittman sunk a three from the left wing to give Coastal a 66-55 lead.
Fowler connected on her second triple of the second half to get CSU back within 68-60 and the Bucs had a chance to draw closer thanks to a Mann steal. Jarvis missed a three, though, and Henry sailed one through from the corner to put the exclamation point on the victory for Coastal.
Charleston Southern continues a four-game home stand Tuesday night against Presbyterian. Tipoff at the Buc Dome is set for 7 p.m.