CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern shot a season-high 58 percent from the floor and forced 19 turnovers to overpower Johnson & Wales (N.C.), 100-53, on Saturday at the Buc Dome.
CSU (4-4) ended the first half on a 29-6 run to open up a 29-point halftime lead and never looked back to top Johnson & Wales (2-6) for the second straight year. The victory followed a week break from game action for final exams and enabled the Bucs to bounce back from a tough loss to Abilene Christian. CSU starts a challenging three-game road swing to close out non-conference play on Tuesday at VMI.
"I'm proud of our guys because it was a tough week on them with finals and what we asked of them in practice," said CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh. "There's a real hunger to improve in our program so we had a typical week of practice on top of final exams so I applaud the effort our guys gave after a physical and mentally exhausting week."
"We were prepared to play and saw some solid improvement," Radebaugh continued. "Our ball movement was much better. We had some good penetration, good ball screens and got a lot of open shots. I also thought we played a little bit looser. We talked this week about loosening up. We'll prepare well, we'll play well and then let the chips fall where they may. We've got a tough stretch coming up. We've just gotta take it a day a time because that's enough for a young team."
Armel Potter paced four Bucs in double figures with his second straight 21-point output. Jamar Martin scored 12 points in his first career start. Patrick Wallace buried four early three-pointers en route to 12 points, and Cortez Mitchell added ten. For Johnson & Wales, Majerle Poole hit for a team-high 15 points, while Alcyone Moore chipped in 12.
Six different CSU players scored during a 14-0 spurt that pushed the lead from six to 20 in the opening stanza. Christian Keeling connected on a pull-up jumper to start the stretch, and Jamal Thomas provided a highlight with a three off a pretty feed from Martin. Javis Howard sailed home a left-handed jump hook to send the Bucs ahead 36-16 at the 6:48 mark.
Potter capped the first half with back-to-back buckets to push the edge to 51-22 at intermission. He opened 7-for-7 from the floor in contributing his third 20-point outburst of the young season.
Johnson & Wales drew within 27 just over four and a half minutes into the second period but that was as close as it would get. Two Keeling free throws and a Martin triple jumpstarted a 31-8 run that accounted for a 50-point lead, the largest of the game, with 4:34 remaining. Raemond Robinson knocked down a three from in front of the Bucs' bench and CSU scored consistently inside to exert its will. CSU enjoyed a 46-18 advantage in points in the paint and a 29-5 cushion in points off turnovers.
CSU went 8-for-15 from downtown in the first half to set the tone. Wallace started the scoring with a trey 13 seconds into play and swished home three more over the opening 5:06 of play, the last of which staked the Bucs to a 19-10 lead.
Next up for CSU is a date with former Big South rival VMI on Tuesday. Tipoff at Cameron Hall in Lexington, Va., is slated for 7 p.m.