BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Charleston Southern sparked a second half comeback to defeat Gardner-Webb, 51-48, on Monday night.
The Buccaneers (16-12, 10-7) were paced by double-digit performances from sophomore duo Ke'Asia Jackson and Rachel Burns. Jackson finished the night with a team-high 11 points and gave CSU the go-ahead basket with just under two minutes left on the clock.
"This was a big win for us on the road," CSU Head Coach Fred Applin said. "We played well as a team tonight and we had some players hit some key baskets."
CSU traded baskets with Gardner-Webb (11-17, 6-11) during the opening minutes of the first quarter. Brianna Lakes got a 7-0 scoring run going for the Bucs with a pair of free throws that Jackson followed with a three-pointer. Burns wrapped up the run with a layup for a 13-6 CSU lead with three minutes remaining.
GWU's Tierra Huntsman responded with a basket from beyond the arc and the Runnin' Bulldogs closed out the quarter with nine unanswered points for the 15-13 lead. Huntsman finished the night with a game-high 16 points.
Freshman Jasmine Blackmon returned the lead to the Bucs with back-to-back layups to put the score at 19-17 with just under five minutes to play in the half. GWU tied the game back up with a layup from Alexus Hill and pulled ahead with an 8-0 run over the Bucs. With a minute left in the half, Burns went to the stripe to put CSU within four. Breannah Bretches closed out the quarter with the Bucs' last basket, sinking a three-pointer to trail the Runnin' Bulldogs 25-24 at the half.
"We had players come off the bench and played key minutes," Applin added.
The Buccaneers found their shot in the second half and Lakes led CSU with seven rebounds in the final 20 minutes of the contest. The senior forward finished the night just shy of a double-double, recording a game-high 10 rebounds and eight points in the road win.
"We took care of the ball and rebounded well," Applin said. "I am so proud of this team and we just kept fighting."
In a game made up of eight ties and six lead changes, the Bucs pulled ahead once again in the third quarter with a jumper from Elyse Kiploks as 6:32 remained on the clock. Alyssa Mann ended the quarter at the stripe, sinking a pair of free throws for the Bucs' to give CSU a 37-32 lead heading into the final 10 minutes of play.
Huntsman opened the fourth quarter with a jump shot to make it a one-possession game, but Lakes responded with a jumper to put the Bucs back up by five. Huntsman recorded the Runnin' Bulldogs next two baskets and added a pair of free throws to put the score at 41-39 less than one minute into the quarter. Kierra Currie returned the advantage to GWU with back-to-back three pointers in the seventh minute, but Mann responded with a jumper and a basket from beyond the arc for the 46-45 Buccaneer lead.
Savannah Plentovich would tie up the game one last time with a three-pointer at the 2:19 mark and a score of 48-48. Jackson recorded the Bucs' go-ahead and game-winning basket with a jumper as 1:59 remained on the clock. Burns added a free throw with nine seconds remaining and a Huntsman three-pointer attempt at the buzzer wrapped up CSU's road win.
The Buccaneers now turn their attention to their last regular game of the 2016-17 season as CSU travels to Winthrop on Saturday. Tipoff between the Bucs and the Eagles is set for 4:00 p.m. at Winthrop Coliseum.