CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern opens its home slate Wednesday against Columbia International. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on the Big South Network.
CSU (0-2) is going after its 14th consecutive home-opening win and second straight over CIU (1-4). The Bucs downed the Rams, 90-53, exactly a year ago, extending their record in home openers under Barclay Radebaugh to a perfect 12-0. CSU has enjoyed a distinct home court advantage in the Buc Dome, posting an 82-32 mark since 2009.
Following a challenging opening weekend, CSU will look for continued improvement as it prepares for a Saturday test at USC Upstate. Radebaugh was pleased with the way his team responded against NC State, just two days after losing handily at Davidson.
"I applaud our team," Radebaugh said of a group featuring three freshmen starters and seven rotation players competing in their first Division I seasons. "After the way we played Friday night, we made big, big strides forward. We hang our hat on effort and attitude and we hope somewhere along the line, the execution will catch up. We trust that it will but our effort and attitude has been A+. I really love this team and I'm really excited about coaching 'em."
CSU has handled CIU each of the last four seasons, recording a 45-point average margin of victory across those meetings. The Rams enter on a four-game losing streak and dropped a 108-44 decision at Campbell on Monday. Guard Druw Rollins tallied a team-high 13 points against the Camels, and is the Rams' leading scorer through five games.
Cavin switching sides
Charleston Southern guard JC Cavin played at CIU for the last three seasons and is among the program's all-time leaders in scoring, assists, rebounds and steals. Cavin averaged over 13 points and four rebounds per game last year. He tallied 22 points against CSU in the December 2015 meeting between the two clubs. Cavin saw double-digit minutes at point guard in each of CSU's first two games. He is pursuing his M.B.A. at CSU after earning his undergraduate degree from CIU.
Newcomers being counted on immediately
CSU started three freshmen and a junior college transfer in both of its opening weekend games. Overall, 83 percent of the Bucs' points and 79 percent of their rebounds have come from players in their first year of Division I competition. Seven of CSU's top nine players, in terms of minutes played, are in their first Division I seasons.
Progress from game one to game two
CSU bounced back from a 48-point loss to Davidson with a solid performance Sunday against NC State. The Bucs trailed by just four with 2:25 left in the first half before the Wolfpack ripped off a 17-0 run. CSU started the second half on a 19-10 run to cut its deficit to 12, and outscored NC State for much of the half. The Bucs hit 10 of their first 17 field goal attempts in the stanza, and shot 50 percent overall (14-for-28).