CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern hosts High Point in its Senior Day contest Saturday at the Buc Dome. The Bucs will honor their four seniors prior to the 5:30 p.m. tipoff. East Bay Deli is also sponsoring a White Out, with the first 500 fans receiving free t-shirts. Fans can watch the game on the Big South Network.
CSU (9-17, 5-10 Big South) is bidding to end its regular season home slate on a three-game winning streak and keep hopes of a top-six seed and first-round bye in the Big South Championship alive. High Point (14-13, 8-7) is aiming to bounce back from consecutive losses by a total of four points. The Panthers lost to Radford, 69-68, in overtime last Saturday before falling at first-place Liberty by three in a defensive battle Wednesday.
The Bucs dug themselves out of a 13-0 hole in Wednesday's 72-69 win over Campbell. CSU trimmed its deficit to five by halftime and took the lead for good with 9:28 remaining before hanging on late. Christian Keeling led the way once again, tallying 17 of his 22 points in the second half for his eighth 20-point showing of the campaign. Armel Potter put together a strong all-around performance with 11 points, five rebounds and four assists, highlighting his day with a fast break dunk that energized CSU early in the second half. Javis Howard enjoyed a strong second stanza as well as the Bucs held Campbell to 33 percent shooting after intermission.
Howard, who still paces the league and ranks 35th nationally in offensive rebounds, will likely need to be a force if CSU is to gain a season split with High Point. The Panthers feature one of the top interior players in the conference in senior Miles Bowman, Jr., who's racked up 11 double-doubles. Bowman, Jr. notched a quiet 15 points and 12 rebounds in High Point's 72-69 overtime victory over CSU three weeks ago. He and fellow forwards Ricky Madison and Tarique Thompson all rank among the Big South's top-eight in offensive boards.
High Point's triumph over CSU was the fourth in a six-game winning streak that sent it to 7-4 in the league. The Panthers have since lost three of four, though, with all of those defeats coming by one possession. Two of those nail biters came against Big South co-leaders UNC Asheville and Liberty. High Point has a shot at a winning season despite losing two-time Big South Player of the Year Brown, and two other 1,000-point scorers – to graduation last year.
CSU had its chances to topple High Point on the road in the first meeting between the two clubs. Cortez Mitchell posted a then career-high 21 points in the loss, and aided a defensive cause that forced 16 turnovers and limited High Point to 38 percent shooting. Missed free throws and several costly fouls cost the Bucs their third straight victory. High Point's Andre Fox hit two free throws to force overtime, and added eight more in the extra session, en route to a game-high 22 points.
Following Saturday's game, CSU will hit the road to wrap up its regular season with trips to Winthrop and Longwood.
Defense helps propel CSU over Campbell
CSU turned up its defensive intensity considerably after a rough start against Campbell. Chris Clemons, the nation's fifth-leading scorer, was held to nine points on 2-of-9 shooting in the second half of the Bucs' win. Clemons had 21 points on 8-for-13 shooting in the first half. The Bucs frustrated the Camels into 33 percent shooting over the final 20 minutes, overall.
Keeling goes for 20 again
Christian Keeling scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half of Wednesday's win. It was Keeling's eight 20-point effort of the season. Keeling's 438 points are the most by a CSU freshman under head coach Barclay Radebaugh since Omar Carter totaled 466 on his way to being named Big South Freshman of the Year. Keeling has been named Big South Freshman of the Week five times this season. He leads all league freshmen in scoring and rebounding, pacing CSU in both categories while ranking top-ten league-wide in each.
Senior Day sendoff
Saturday marks the final regular season home game for seniors Zach Durkee, Ugo Mmonu, Rae Robinson and Patrick Wallace. The quartet could play at home again if CSU is the 7 or 8 seed in the upcoming Big South Championship. The top-six seeds advance to the quarterfinal round, which will be hosted by the regular season champion.