CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern hosts its regular season home finale Thursday against Campbell. Tipoff at the Buc Dome is slated for 7:30 p.m., with Senior Day festivities set to begin at 7:25 as the program honors its six graduating seniors.
*Senior Day Posters – In addition to the pregame ceremony, free posters recognizing the Bucs' seniors will be given away to fans.
Seeding for next week's Big South Championship is at stake for both teams. Campbell (15-13, 9-7 Big South), which enters in fourth place and just a game behind Radford for third, can clinch a top-six seed and first round bye with a victory. CSU (12-15, 7-9 Big South), which enters tied for seventh with Gardner-Webb and just one game back of a two-way tie for fifth, is looking to stay in the hunt for a top-six seed. First round games will be held next Tuesday, while the quarterfinals begin two days later.
The Bucs and Fighting Camels have each won three of their last four games as they look to carry momentum into the tournament. CSU battled league co-leader UNC Asheville to overtime Sunday before falling, 85-80. Campbell bounced back from a 19-point loss at Radford to down Liberty, 79-69, behind 15 made three-pointers.
CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh knows his surging squad will need similar effort in a tough two-game closing stretch that will take up less than 48 hours. The Bucs head to Winthrop Saturday afternoon to play an Eagles squad bidding for the regular season title.
"They're all tournament-type games this time of year," Radebaugh said following Sunday's OT classic against Asheville. "I'm really proud of the way our guys have battled and improved over the last month and we know we're capable of competing with anyone in our league, top to bottom. Campbell will be another tremendous test because they have a lot to play for as well."
CSU has won six of its last nine games since losing at Campbell on Jan. 18 to cap a 1-6 start to Big South play. Two of the Bucs' losses in that stretch have come by a combined seven points, including Sunday's OT defeat to the Bulldogs.
Campbell led 35-15 at halftime and by as many as 25 points in the second half to roll to a 62-47 win over CSU in Buies Creek, N.C. Minus Travis McConico, who was sidelined with the flu, CSU struggled mightily offensively, shooting just 21 percent (6-28) in the first half and 31 percent overall. The Bucs did defend well against an excellent shooting Campbell team, holding the Camels to a 44 percent clip overall and just a 6-for-19 mark from three. Chris Clemons, who attempted only 11 shots, paced all scorers with 23 points.
Stopping Clemons and the rest of Campbell's potent offense will be a challenge. Clemons is the nation's fourth-leading scorer and two weeks ago became the first junior in Big South history to surpass 2,000 career points. He had two 30-point games against CSU last season. Clemons has received considerable help from backcourt mate Marcus Burk, who ranks second in the league in three-point percentage and threes made. As a team, Campbell paces the circuit in field goal percentage and is second in scoring offense and three-point shooting.
Last home hurrah for seniors
Thursday's contest will be the final regular season home game for seniors JC Cavin, Javis Howard, Jamar Martin, Cortez Mitchell and Jamal Thomas, as well as fourth-year student manager Trey Johnson. The six graduating seniors will be honored in a ceremony prior to tipoff. CSU could play a home game Tuesday in the first round of the Big South Championship, depending on the outcomes during the final week of regular season play.
Jones can't miss...literally
Sophomore forward Jordan Jones was a perfect 10-for-10 from the field last week. He has not missed a shot in his last five games, going 13-for-13 over that span. Last week, Jones tallied ten points in the win at Longwood while making all four of his shots and both of his free throws. The Baltimore product delivered a career game against UNC Asheville, hitting for 16 points on 6-for-6 shooting. Jones had several key baskets down the stretch as CSU pushed the Bulldogs to overtime. He added five rebounds and two blocked shots in a career-high 31 minutes.
Bucs rounding into form offensively
Much improved offensive production has fueled CSU's resurgence. The Bucs are averaging 77.2 points per game and shooting 46.6 percent overall and 37.5 percent (51-136) from three-point range over their last seven games. During its 2-7 start to league play, CSU averaged just 62.4 points per game while shooting 39.5 percent overall and 28 percent (58-206) from downtown. CSU has eclipsed the 80-point mark five times in that span after doing so only once in its first nine conference contests.