CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern forced 30 turnovers and sunk 16 three-pointers en route to defeating Columbia International, 100-68, in Tuesday's season opener at the Buc Dome. The win was CSU's 15th straight in a home opener.
The Bucs forced 19 turnovers in the first half alone to build a 13-point halftime lead, and then kicked their offense into gear to pull away in the second half. CSU (1-0) connected on six of its first ten threes after intermission to forge a lead as large as 31 and cruise past CIU (1-2).
Senior Travis McConico knocked down five triples, and finished with a team-high 17 points along with six rebounds and four assists. Five others reached double figures, including freshmen Duncan LeXander (17 points), Jamir Moore (11) and Timmy Sellers (10).
CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh was pleased with the way his team performed minus sophomore starters Phlandrous Fleming Jr. and Ty Jones, who sat out with minor injuries but are expected to return Friday at Florida.
"It was a little bit sloppy but we did a lot of good things," Radebaugh said. "We unveiled our pace and we want that to be our style of play. We created a lot of situations that we want to with 30 turnovers and 47 deflections. We're going to push the ball and try to take it away from you, and our guys are really embracing that style."
"I thought in the second half, we settled in more offensively and knocked some shots down to put together a nice little spurt to get it to 30," Radebaugh continued. "We improved and made a lot of progress tonight. I'm really excited about what we can be."
How It Happened
- CSU utilized an 18-6 run to push its advantage to 68-43 with 10:56 left. LeXander and Deontaye Buskey buried threes during that surge, which Sellers punctuated with a two-handed alley-oop dunk.
- Newcomers Nate Louis and Moore came off the bench to add two threes each in the waning minutes as the Bucs played with better offensive rhythm in the second half.
- CIU, in its first season as an NAIA program, hung around in the opening period. CSU was not able to take a double-digit lead until the 6:54 mark, and the Rams then drew back within six on Eric Graham's triple just over three minutes later. The Bucs countered with a 9-2 spurt to nudge their halftime lead to 42-29.
Inside the Numbers
- LeXander made the most of a start in his college debut, hitting for 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting while corralling a team-high eight rebounds in only 17 minutes.
- Freshman Dontrelle Shuler contributed an excellent all-around effort with nine points, six assists and a game-high four steals.
- Moore provided instant offense late, tallying 11 points in just three minutes.
- Eric Graham paced CIU with 11 points and ten boards, helping the Rams to a 44-40 rebounding edge. Twelve different Rams reached the scoring column.
CSU travels to Gainesville for a Friday night meeting with Florida in the Gators' home opener. Tipoff at the O'Connell Center is slated for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on the SEC Network+.