Clutch Free Throw Shooting Keys 81-77 CSU TriumphFebruary 16, 2008
By CSU Sports Information
A frantic second half rally saw CSU overturn a 16 point second half deficit Saturday night and snap a seven game losing streak, as the Bucs defeated Big South preseason favorite High Point 81-77 at CSU Field House.
After trailing for the entire half, CSU captured their first lead of the second period with just 1:20 remaining when Shawn Outen rebounded a missed Omar Carter shot and scored, capping a 6-0 run that gave the Bucs a 75-73 lead. After a Earnest Bridges tip in on the other end tied the score, Outen came up large for Barclay Radebaugh’s squad once more, pulling down yet another offensive rebound and drawing a foul.
Whereas in past games CSU had struggled from the charity stripe down the stretch, Outen coolly and calmy connected on both of his ensuing free throw attempts to give CSU a two point lead. After forcing a turnover from Arizona Reid, High Point’s unquestioned star on the night with 25 points and 16 rebounds, the Bucs would continue to hit their free throws. This time, Chris Moore delivered for CSU, knocking down both attempts to give CSU a 79-75 lead.
After another Bridges basket, Moore was given the ball once again and was fouled with just three seconds left. Displaying the poise of a senior, Moore connected on both attempts to clinch the four point victory for CSU, the Bucs first since a 90-74 triumph over Radford on January 14.
The Bucs had initially worked their way back into the game with a 12-0 run midway through the second half that turned a 65-49 deficit into a manageable 65-61 scoreline. As was the case down the stretch, Outen was a key force in the run, as it was his forceful dunk that began the CSU scoring streak. Freshman Omar Carter (19 points Saturday) also impressed in rallying the Bucs on both the offensive and defensive ends. Though Carter did not have his best shooting night overall Saturday (five of 16 from the floor), the Charlotte native made the baskets when they counted while pestering Reid just enough defensively to slow the High Point attack down.
The second half was not initially kind to CSU, as High Point utilized a 23-7 run in the half’s first seven-plus minutes to turn a 42-42 halftime scoreline into the 65-49 Panther advantage. While senior point guard Mike Jefferson (18 points Saturday) and Reid had almost single-handedly carried the offensive scoring load in the first half, the Panthers’ David Campbell (10 points) and Eugene Harris (14 points) contributed key minutes and buckets early in the second half to help Bart Lundy’s squad build a lead that would have seemed insurmountable.
Instead, thanks to the 32-12 run down the game’s final stretch, it was the Bucs that would taste what surely must be a sweet, sweet victory on this night.
For the game, High Point outshot CSU 48.4% to 45.2%, out-rebounded the Bucs 37 to 33 and connected on two more threes than the Bucs did Saturday. The key statistics, however, proved to be CSU’s significant advantage in free throws made, with 19 to just seven for High Point, and turnovers, or specifically, the lack thereof from the Bucs. Radebaugh’s squad committed just six turnovers on the night, including only one in the entire second half, while forcing 12 turnovers from HPU.
Freshman Tovi Bailey keyed this effort by continuing his improved play of late. In fact, Bailey might have quite possibly had the best floor game of his young CSU career against the Panthers, as the Georgia native had six assists against just one turnover in 29 minutes played for the Bucs.
The win improves the Bucs to 8-17 on the season and 2-8 in the Big South, while the Panthers remain very much a factor in the muddled race at the top of the conference with a Big South record of 6-5 and an overall mark of 14-11. CSU, meanwhile, will hope to continue the winning ways come Monday night, when the Bucs will welcome the Liberty Flames, 14 point winners over Coastal Carolina this afternoon, to CSU Field House for a 7:30 P.M. tip-off.Related Item: Box Score