Nimley and Harper Steady CSU Past WinthropJanuary 21, 2012
by CSU Sports Information
|Photo Al Samuels - AlSamuels.com|
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Saah Nimley and Arlon Harper combined for 43 points to lead the Charleston Southern men’s basketball team over Winthrop, 77-66, at Buccaneer Fieldhouse on Saturday night.
Two days after going off for 48 points in CSU’s road victory over first place UNC Asheville, the freshmen backcourt duo was at it again. Nimley took the load of the scoring mantle in the second half, tallying 20 of his career-high tying 24 following intermission as the Bucs withstood a late Eagles run which sliced a 17-point deficit to as little as five with 4:50 remaining.
“Look at the numbers and try to find a more productive freshman backcourt in the country,” said CSU coach Barclay Radebaugh. “They play with no fear and have such great poise for kids that were playing high school basketball last season. They continue to do some very good things and we have complete confidence in both of them.”
CSU (13-7, 7-3) secured its third straight win despite going 10:58 without converting a field goal. The Bucs netted 13-of-18 from the free-throw line during that stretch to preserve the advantage, and fittingly ended the drought when Nimley came up with a steal and found Harper for an alley-oop jam to apply the exclamation point.
The Bucs led 38-30 at halftime, and raced out of the locker room with an 8-1 spurt to seize control. Kelvin Martin converted a free throw, Nimley drilled a three-pointer, Cedrick Bowen swished a pair at the charity stripe, and Nimley added two more at the line all in a span of 2:42.
Two more Nimley treys and a Paul Gombwer offensive rebound and stick back staked CSU to a 59-42 cushion with 11:29 left before Andre Jones willed Winthrop back into the contest.
Jones poured in 16 of his game-high 26 during the second stanza, and excelled off the dribble to help Winthrop to a 20-8 run which brought them within 67-62. CSU did enough at the free-throw line to hold on, though, led by a 12-of-14 performance from Nimley.
Winthrop established a 7-3 lead in the game’s opening minutes, but went scoreless for 5:19 as CSU ripped off 16 markers in a row. Harper, Mathiang Muo, and Nimley each connected from downtown to highlight the rally, while Gombwer applied the finishing touches with a layup down low.
CSU built the advantage to 14 on two occasions in the first half courtesy of a Muo three and a Bowen post move, but Winthrop crept back within eight at the break.
Both clubs excelled on the offensive end in the first half, with CSU shooting 62.5 percent (15-of-24) and Winthrop 52 percent. The Bucs also went 6-of-9 from beyond the arc, but committed 12 turnovers en route to 23 total on the night. Winthrop was also sloppy in the first half, coughing it up 13 times.
The pace slowed considerably in the second half as the fouls accumulated on each side. CSU atoned for 11 more turnovers and 7-of-17 shooting by drawing 16 fouls and making 18-of-22 at the free-throw line. Winthrop, meanwhile, drew 13 second half violations and sailed home 16-of-19 from the stripe.
Martin was relatively quiet with 5 points and nine rebounds, yet still added another achievement to a terrific senior season. His first of two steals was the 200th career swipe, making him only the third player in Big South history to accumulate more than 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, and 200 steals.
The victory moves Charleston Southern to 9-1 at the Buc Dome this season, and ups its mark to 32-6 in its last 38 overall.
“We didn’t play great but we played very well in some spurts and I thought we played well late in the game,” said Radebaugh. “Winthrop is so tough, so physical. They really pushed us around tonight. We hung in there as a team. That’s the big thing for me. Everyone played hard and we had a lot of guys contribute.”
CSU enjoys another week respite from game action before beginning a three-game Big South road trip next Saturday at Presbyterian. Tipoff in Clinton is slated for 7:30 p.m.Related Item: Box Score