CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern mounted a second half comeback to top Gardner-Webb 64-57 in the Buc Dome on Tuesday night.
The Buccaneers (10-8, 4-3) were paced by Big South leading scorer Ke'Asia Jackson's 22 points. Elyse Kiploks scored a career-high 15 points and recorded seven rebounds, while Alyssa Mann contributed 11 points and tied Jackson with a game-high of five assists in the Buccaneer win.
"I think we played great team basketball," said CSU Head Coach Fred Applin. "That's what we've been talking about these last couple of weeks. Our team is distributing the ball well, having fun, working hard and I'm very proud of them."
Gardner-Webb (8-10, 3-4) led for most of the first half and had a strong first quarter, shooting 63 percent (5-8) from beyond the arc for a 22-12 lead after ten minutes. The Runnin' Bulldogs offense was fueled by the double-digit performances of Alexus Hill (17) and Tierra Huntsman (15) with each player connecting on a trio of three-pointers in the Gardner-Webb defeat.
Jackson recorded the Bucs' first six points of the second quarter in helping CSU outscore the Runnin' Bulldogs 16-10 in the second quarter and cut GWU's lead down to 32-28 at halftime.
The Bucs came out the halftime break clicking on all cylinders as Mann opened the second half with a corner jumper. CSU maintained control with a steal from Kiploks that the Bucs converted into another basket to tie the game at 32-32 less than a minute into the third quarter. Gardner-Webb continued to struggle with ball control as Rachel Burns recorded a steal that Kiploks finished with a layup for the Buccaneers' first lead since the first quarter. Kiploks went on to score a team-high 14 points in the period as CSU shot for 79 percent (11-14) to end the third quarter with a 55-46 lead over Gardner-Webb.
"Elyse Kiploks really stepped up in our post area during the second half and Ke'Asia Jackson helped keep our team in the game with a strong first-half performance," Applin added. "I think every player contributed to our win in some way tonight."
Both teams had a low-scoring fourth quarter, but the Buccaneers never relinquished the lead. Burns and Bretches both drove in for layups for the Bucs, while Huntsman and Hill were the only Gardner-Webb players to score over the final ten minutes. A tough CSU defense forced eight GWU turnovers over a six-minute span and Mann closed out the Buccaneers' comeback with two trips to the free throw line in the final 15 seconds of the 64-57 victory at home.
The Buccaneers now turn their attention to this weekend as they travel to Longwood to take on the Lancers in a Saturday afternoon showdown. Tipoff at Willett Hall is set for 2:00 p.m. on the Big South Network.