CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern's fourth quarter comeback effort fell just short as the Buccaneers were topped by High Point, 64-62, in the Buc Dome on Tuesday night.
Ke'Asia Jackson led Charleston Southern (14-12, 8-7) with a game-high 26 points. After a scoreless first half, the sophomore guard recorded 11 of CSU's 12 points in the third quarter and 15 of 26 points in the fourth. With just three seconds remaining in the game, Jackson put the Bucs' within two with a three-pointer off the inbounds pass for what would be CSU's last basket in the loss.
High Point (12-14, 10-5) held the lead for nearly 39 of the 40 minutes in contest and pulled ahead early with the hot hand from downtown. The Panthers entered the night as the Big South three-point leader, averaging 6.6 per game, and recorded nine three-pointers while shooting 33.3 shooting percent from beyond the arc. High Point was led by Kaylah Keys' 16 points and game-high trio of three-pointers, while Kat Harris recorded 13 points, contributing two of the Panthers' nine buckets from deep.
High Point got off to a hot start, connecting on five of its three-pointers in the first ten minutes of the game to lead the Bucs 21-12 at the end of the first quarter. A layup from Kennedy Currie to open the second quarter gave CSU its first double-digit deficit of the game that they would struggle to overcome for the duration of the game. Breannah Bretches closed out the quarter with eight consecutive points for the Bucs, draining four of five shot attempts in the last three minutes of the half. High Point outscored CSU 20-12 in the second quarter to enter halftime with the 41-24 lead.
Jackson found her shot in the second half, recording 11 of the Bucs' 12 points in the third quarter, including a single-handed 7-2 scoring run in the final two minutes of the period. With 10 minutes left to play, CSU trailed High Point by 18 points with the score at 54-36 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Panthers earned a 20-point lead with a pair of free throws from Harris to open the fourth quarter. The Buccaneers responded with a 9-0 scoring run sparked by a jumper from Alyssa Mann that Bretches followed with the CSU's first three-pointer of the game. Jackson wrapped up the ninth straight Buccaneer point with a jumper in the paint to put CSU within 11 points with 6:33 on the clock.
High Point's Currie ended CSU's run with a layup, but Bretches answered back with her second three of the contest on her way to finishing the night with 16 points. After another layup from Currie, Jackson went on another streak, recording eight consecutive points for the Bucs and wrapped up the run with her seventh free throw of the night to put CSU within four points (60-56) with 1:20 remaining.
A free throw from Keys made it a five-point game, but Jackson found Bretches for the layup on the next play to make it a one-possession game with the score at 61-58 with exactly one minute left to play. An expiring clock and foul-trouble got in the way of a CSU comeback as Harris went to the line twice and added three points with time ticking down and the score at 64-58.
Rachel Burns split a pair of free throws with 18 seconds on the clock and Jackson sunk a deep three off an inbounds pass from Bretches at the three second mark to close out the narrow 64-62 CSU loss.
Charleston Southern now turn its attention to the final home game of the season as they host Longwood on Saturday. Tipoff between the Buccaneers and the Lancers is set for 3:00 p.m. on the Big South Network.