CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern bids for its sixth consecutive season sweep of Presbyterian College on Saturday at the Buc Dome. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on the Big South Network.
CSU (7-15, 3-8 Big South) posted a convincing 73-52 win at Presbyterian (5-17, 1-10 Big South) in Clinton on Jan. 19. The Bucs led wire-to-wire and by as many as 29 points to defeat the Blue Hose for the 11th straight time. Freshman Christian Keeling racked up a double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds and CSU stifled PC defensively, allowing 36 percent shooting overall, including just 27 percent in the first half.
That victory was the first of a 2-0 week in which CSU never trailed. The Bucs were showing marked progression, winning three of five, with the only losses coming in a tight affair to first-place UNC Asheville and an overtime thriller at High Point. Following back-to-back lopsided losses to Gardner-Webb and Asheville, CSU is looking to regain that form over its final seven regular season games.
PC enters off a 71-51 loss Tuesday at Liberty. The Blue Hose snapped a ten-game losing streak with a 71-62 home triumph over Longwood last Saturday. Senior forward Ed Drew tallied 21 points and nine rebounds in that contest to pace the Blue Hose. Drew currently ranks fourth in the Big South in offensive rebounds. He teams with freshman forward Jo'Vontae Miller, PC's leading scorer (10.8 PPG), to give coach Gregg Nibert's squad a solid post tandem.
CSU led Asheville for the first 27 minutes of the matchup in Charleston but the Bulldogs controlled most of Wednesday's rematch. The Bucs chipped away at an early 16-5 deficit to hang around for much of the first half but Asheville started the second half red hot and led by as many as 23 points to stay in a first-place tie with Winthrop and Liberty. The guard trio of Christian Keeling, Cortez Mitchell and Armel Potter did post 14 points each as part of a solid offensive performance that saw the Bucs shoot 48 percent.
Following Saturday's game, CSU will make its first of two February trips to the state of Virginia. The Bucs will pay visits to Radford and Liberty next Thursday and Saturday.
CSU has dominated recent series with PC
Seven of CSU's 11 consecutive wins over PC have come by double-digit final margins. The biggest triumphs in that run both came in the 2013-14 season, with the Bucs posting 37 and 39-point wins a month apart.
Howard tenacious on offensive glass
Javis Howard continues to lead the Big South in offensive rebounds, averaging 3.3 per game. The junior currently ranks 28th nationally in the category. Howard had three offensive boards in CSU's win at PC. He scored 14 points on perfect 7-for-7 shooting in that game.
Keeling keeps on scoring
Christian Keeling continues to lead all Big South freshmen in scoring and rebounding. Keeling's 27-point night last Saturday against Gardner-Webb was his sixth 20-point outburst of the season. The August, Ga., product has reached double figures scoring in all but four games.
Getting on track from three
Improved three-point shooting could help CSU finish the season in strong fashion. CSU has not knocked down double-digit threes since connecting on 13 against VMI on Dec. 13. The Bucs are currently last in the conference in three-point accuracy. Prior to last year, CSU had finished top-11 nationally in threes made and attempted for three years running. The Bucs buried nine triples in Clinton on Jan. 19. Raemond Robinson sailed through three in the opening 4:11 to spark CSU to a 14-2 lead.