CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern plays host to South Carolina State on Tuesday at the Buc Dome. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ESPN+.
CSU (1-1) is looking to rebound from a 76-46 loss Friday at Florida. The Bucs hung around for much of the first half before the Gators strung together an 18-0 run spanning both halves to pull away. S.C. State (1-1) enters off a 74-52 loss Sunday at Tulsa in a game the Bulldogs were in for much of the first half.
A year ago in Orangeburg in the first meeting between the two programs in nearly 18 years, S.C. State erased a late nine-point deficit to rally for a 91-88 overtime victory. Phlandrous Fleming Jr. (21 points) and Christian Keeling (20) combined for 41 points in that contest to pace CSU.
The Bulldogs are led by sixth-year head coach Murray Garvin, an assistant to Barclay Radebaugh at CSU from 2005-08. S.C. State graduated its top scorer from last season in guard Donte Wright, but returns talented big man Damani Applewhite. The 6-8 left-hander has 40 points on 17-of-24 shooting through two games, including 21 on a 9-for-14 mark against the Golden Hurricane.
Tuesday's contest is CSU's first of four this season against former assistant coaches. The Bucs will play Bob Richey-led Furman on Dec. 11, and meet Mike Morrell-led UNC Asheville twice in Big South Conference play. Both were assistants under Radebaugh.
Shuler starting with a splash
Many of CSU's returners singled out Dontrell Shuler as a newcomer poised to make an impact during the preseason, and he is thus far living up to that billing. Shuler tallied 11 of CSU's 20 first half points against Florida, showing off impressive explosiveness to get to the basket on several occasions. He turned in a strong all-around effort in last Tuesday's rout of Columbia International, scoring nine points while adding team highs of six assists and four steals.
Keeling nearing 20th place on Bucs' all-time scoring chart
Junior Christian Keeling is 16 points away from tying Adam Larrick (1995-99) for 20th place on CSU's all-time scoring list. Keeling posted a game-high 18 points against Florida, including 14 after halftime.
Jones makes season debut against Gators
Sophomore Ty Jones logged 14 active minutes at Florida, recording seven points, three rebounds and two assists. He sat out the opener with a minor injury. Jones was a key part of the Bucs' young nucleus last year, averaging 6.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. He scored in double figures eight times, highlighted by a career-high 17 points in CSU's Big South Tournament win over Presbyterian.
Still a young group
Twelve of CSU's 15 players are underclassmen. The Bucs' roster is comprised of seven freshmen, five sophomores, two juniors and one senior in Travis McConico. Keeling is the only player in his third year in the program. Alongside Keeling, freshmen Jones, Phlandrous Fleming Jr., Deontaye Buskey and Sean Price helped the lead CSU's turnaround last year.