CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern starts the second half of its Big South Conference schedule with a trip to first-place Radford on Saturday. Tipoff at the Dedmon Center is slated for 2 p.m. and the game will be televised on Stadium and carried in the Charleston area on MyTV Charleston. Fans can also listen to live audio commentary on csusports.com.
CSU (7-13, 2-7 Big South) is looking to rebound from Wednesday's 57-49 home loss to Presbyterian. The Bucs jumped out to a 10-0 lead but scuffled offensively the rest of the way. Radford (14-8, 7-2 Big South) is coming off a 78-76 overtime win at High Point that allowed the Highlanders to hold onto sole possession of first place in the league. The Highlanders erased a 14-point deficit to force the extra session and prevailed on freshman guard Carlik Jones's jumper at the buzzer. Radford holds a one-game lead on Winthrop, UNC Asheville and Campbell as the rematch portion of conference play begins.
CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh hopes his young club can make strides over the final nine regular season games heading into the conference tournament. The Bucs, who feature ten first-year players, have shown flashes of their potential at times, including in last Sunday's convincing win over Gardner-Webb. CSU also pushed Radford until the final horn in a 64-61 loss at the Buc Dome on Jan. 9.
"Wednesday was certainly a frustrating game but our guys will continue to work and stay positive," Radebaugh said. "We're struggling to knock down some open shots that we know we're capable of hitting and when we do that, we're capable of playing with anyone in our league. Radford is playing really well and with a lot of confidence so it will be a big challenge on the road and we need to be at our best."
CSU nearly handed Radford its first conference loss in Charleston. The Bucs mounted a 16-3 second half run to take a one-point lead with 2:51 remaining before the Highlanders persevered to move to 4-0 in the league. Jones's jumper at the 1:37 mark put Radford up for good. CSU out-rebounded Radford 30-25, forced 17 turnovers and held dynamic forward Ed Polite Jr. to nine points and a 1-of-7 effort from the field in the contest.
Radford is a perfect 7-0 at the Dedmon Center, with its two conference losses coming at Gardner-Webb and at Campbell by a combined eight points. Polite, a preseason all-conference pick, paces the Highlanders with averages of 13.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Jones, who has been named Big South Freshman of the Week six times, averages 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and nearly three assists per contest.
The rebounding battle figures to be pivotal in a matchup of the league's best offensive rebounding teams. Each squad averages 12 offensive boards per game. Radford's Randy Phillips paces the circuit with almost three a night.
Ty Jones enjoying strong week
CSU freshman forward Ty Jones has recorded a career-high 12 points in back-to-back games. Jones tallied 12 points and a career-high seven rebounds in Sunday's win over Gardner-Webb. He added 12 markers and five caroms against Presbyterian. Jones tallied four points during the Bucs' game-opening 10-0 run.
CSU has forced 19 turnovers in both its games this week and now ranks 19th nationally in turnovers forced (16.6 per game) and 43rd in steals per game (7.9). The Bucs forced 51 turnovers in their first two Big South games, including 29 in a suffocating defensive showing against Longwood. CSU has recorded ten or more steals five times this year. The Bucs have forced 15 or more turnovers 12 times, including 20 or more on four occasions.
Positives in loss to Radford
CSU bounced back from a tough road trip to nearly hand Radford its first conference loss. Despite shooting just 43 percent overall and 4-for-18 from three-point range, the Bucs rallied from a 12-point deficit over the game's final nine-plus minutes behind a lineup of three freshmen - Deontaye Buskey, Phlandrous Fleming Jr. and Ty Jones - and two sophomores - Jordan Jones and Christian Keeling. CSU out-re- bounded Radford 30-25, forced 17 turnovers and held dynamic forward Ed Polite Jr. to nine points and a 1-of-7 effort from the field.