CLINTON, S.C. – It was not easy but Charleston Southern found a way to collect its fourth win in five games. CSU staged a key 8-0 run to break a 43-43 second half tie and then held on down the stretch to defeat Presbyterian, 64-54, Saturday at the Templeton Center.
Two Deontaye Buskey free throws and three-pointers by Phlandrous Fleming Jr. and Christian Keeling staked CSU (11-14, 6-8 Big South) to a 51-43 lead with 9:27 remaining. The Bucs pushed their edge to nine moments later but PC (10-17, 3-11 Big South) would not go away. The Blue Hose closed to within three at the 3:03 mark and had several opportunities to crawl closer but came up empty. Cortez Mitchell's steal and layup put CSU in front by six with 1:02 left and effectively sealed the outcome.
CSU shot only 38 percent and was pulled into playing the game at PC's pace, yet persevered to continue its resurgence.
"Give a lot of credit to Presbyterian because they're tough," CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh said afterward. "As much as we tried to control the pace, at the end of the day, they controlled it. I thought our guys did just enough to win and I'm really proud of them. We were able to grind it out and make enough plays. That's four out of five and I think we're starting to build some momentum."
How It Happened
- CSU held PC without a field goal during its pivotal 10-1 run that turned a 43-43 tie into a 53-44 advantage in just 2:53 of game time. Keeling drained two free throws to polish off the spurt and put the Bucs ahead 53-44 at the 8:03 mark.
- Trailing 58-54, PC had three chances to come within one score but CSU recorded clutch stops each time. Reggie Dillard missed a contested three and Romeo Crouch missed a layup before Mitchell came up with a steal and lay-in to create distance. Mitchell and Keeling added two free throws each to provide the final margin.
- CSU was able to withstand a torrid shooting performance from PC's J.C. Younger in the first half. Younger recorded 19 of his game-high 22 points in the opening stanza, including 17 of the Blue Hose's first 24.
- The Bucs jumped out to a 7-0 lead but the Blue Hose, behind Younger, controlled much of the stanza from there. PC held CSU scoreless for 6:39 during a 12-0 run that vaulted the Blue Hose in front, 24-14. Younger hit three long treys and Davon Bell knocked down one to propel PC.
- CSU responded with a 16-2 run to take a 30-26 halftime lead. Travis McConico started the closing sequence with a trey, while Keeling capped it with one of his own.
Inside the Numbers
- Keeling paced CSU with 20 points to extend his double-figure scoring streak to 33 games. It was his ninth 20-point performance of the season and 19th of his career.
- Javis Howard bounced back from a quiet game against Liberty to notch ten points and four rebounds.
- CSU limited PC to just 32 percent shooting and clamped down its three-point defense in the second half. The Blue Hose were 6-of-13 from beyond the arc in the first half but just 3-for-12 after intermission.
- CSU was able to contain Bell, the Big South's leader in assists. Bell finished with nine points, six rebounds and four assists. He was the catalyst in PC's win at the Buc Dome on Jan. 24, tallying 19 points, nine rebounds and five helpers.
- CSU also limited Dillard, the league's ninth-leading scorer, to seven points and a 1-of-12 effort from the field.
- Younger's 22 points marked a career-high against Division I competition.
CSU heads back on the road Thursday at Longwood. The Bucs cruised to an 84-43 win over the Lancers to open Big South play on Dec. 30. Tipoff at Willett Hall in Farmville, Va., is set for 7 p.m.