Bulldogs Down Bucs in Big South SemisMarch 1, 2012
by CSU Sports Information
ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The Charleston Southern men’s basketball team saw one of the better seasons in program history come to an end in a 91-64 loss to top-seeded UNC Asheville in the Big South Conference Tournament Semifinals Thursday night at Kimmel Arena.
Freshman guard Saah Nimley tallied 20 points to lead CSU in scoring for the second consecutive game, but the Bucs shot just 41 percent on the night and committed 18 turnovers. Senior forward Kelvin Martin posted 15 points in his final game in a Charleston Southern uniform, moving into 6th place on the program’s all-time scoring list (1,483 points).
Asheville led wire-to-wire and was paced by 27 points from J.P. Primm. Jeremy Atkinson, Chris Stephenson, and Matt Dickey also reached double figures, as the Bulldogs shot 49 percent and converted 28-of-30 attempts at the free throw line. Asheville will play 7th seeded VMI for the Big South Conference Championship and a berth in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday at noon.
“Give a lot of
credit to UNC Asheville. They played like a team on a mission,” said CSU coach
Barclay Radebaugh. “They got us back on our heels early and we had some good
open shots not go down. We never could get a rhythm and they just took control
of the game and never let up.”
Arlon Harper recorded CSU’s first bucket of the night when he stepped into the passing lane, came up with a steal, and raced the other way for a right-hand dunk to tie the score at 2-2. The Bucs opened up cold from the field, but were still within 15-12 when Cedrick Bowen hit one of two at the line after being fouled on a put back attempt.
Asheville then ripped off nine straight markers, though, to assume a 24-12 advantage at the 9:37 mark on a three-point play by Atkinson. CSU inched its way back, however, buoyed by Martin’s three-pointer just before the shot clock buzzer – only his second trey of the campaign. The Bucs were still within seven at 35-28 when Nimley knocked down a triple from the top of the circle, but the Bulldogs answered with a 9-3 run to enter halftime with a 44-31 cushion.
Asheville kept pouring it on after the break, seizing control for good with a 15-4 run over the opening 6:07 of the stanza. Nimley countered with a triple on CSU’s next possession, but Asheville never let its lead slip below 21 the rest of the way and enjoyed an advantage as large as 32. The Bucs scored the last four points of the night to account for the final margin, as sophomore Thomas Odom swished a left-wing three at the buzzer.
Turnovers were particularly costly for CSU, as Asheville cashed the 18 miscues into 30 points on the other end to post a 20-point advantage in the category.
CSU finished the season with 19 wins, the program’s most since 1994-1995 and the third highest total in school history.
“We’re not going
to let this one game paint the picture of our entire season,” said Radebaugh.
“We made great strides as a program. We accomplished a lot more than most
people thought we could with such a young team. The important thing now is to
continue to grow and improve and make next season even better.
"We know what we have to do. We have to get bigger and stronger during the off-season. We got pushed around a little bit tonight and we have to work hard to make sure that doesn't happen again. I think our team has tremendous potential in the future if we do the things we're supposed to do to get better."
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