CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern hits the road once again to meet Gardner-Webb on Saturday. Tipoff at Paul Porter Arena in Boiling Springs, N.C., is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on the Big South Network. Fans can also listen to coverage on csusports.com.
CSU (4-10, 0-3 Big South) put forth perhaps its best offensive effort of the year in Wednesday's 92-82 loss at Campbell. The Bucs' 57 percent field goal clip and 47 percent effort from downtown both marked season highs. Jamal Thomas led four players in double figures with 19 points in his first career start.
Gardner-Webb (8-8, 1-2 Big South) picked up a road win at previously undefeated Radford Wednesday to rebound from a pair of tough losses to open conference play. Forward Tyrell Nelson, a pick to the All-Big South preseason team, led the Runnin' Bulldogs with 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting.
Getting on track defensively will be key for CSU against a Gardner-Webb club that paces the league in field goal percentage and assists. Nelson, LaQuincy Rideau and David Efianayi all average over 12 points per game. Jamaal Robateau averages 9.5 PPG and is a 43 percent three-point shooter.
Both squads arrived to Big South play well-tested, as each competed against four Power 5 conference foes. Gardner-Webb scored a win in one of those games, topping Nebraska, 70-62, on December 18.
Gardner-Webb has won three straight games against CSU. The Bucs' last win was a 93-80 victory during the Big South Conference regular season championship campaign in 2014-15. CSU's last win in Boiling Springs came on a last second jump shot by Arlon Harper in January of 2013. Prior to last year, the previous four games in the rivalry had been decided by a total of ten points, with two going to overtime.
THOMAS DELIVERS AGAINST CAMPBELL
Jamal Thomas took advantage of his first career starting opportunity Wednesday at Campbell. Thomas posted a career-high 19 points and added three rebounds and two assists while logging 27 minutes. His dunk punctuated a 10-0 run that gave CSU an early 12-4 lead. One of Thomas' three three-pointers provided the Bucs a 34-22 advantage late in the first half, their largest lead of the night.
BUCS GET OFFENSE IN GEAR
CSU played perhaps its best offensive game of the season against Campbell. The Bucs' 57% field goal mark was its highest this year against a Division I opponent, as was its 47% mark from downtown. Four players reached double figures scoring.
HOWARD LEADS BIG SOUTH IN OFFENSIVE BOARDS
CSU junior Javis Howard currently leads the Big South and ranks 31st nationally with 3.4 offensive rebounds per game. Over 56 percent of Howard's rebounds this year have come on the offensive glass. Howard pulled down a career-high nine offensive boards in the league opener against Winthrop. He followed with a 14-point, nine-rebound effort against Liberty. Prior to those two games, Howard had collected just ten total rebounds in CSU's four prior contests.