CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern meets Middle Tennessee State for the first time ever Friday in Murfreesboro. Tipoff at the Murphy Center is set for 7:30 p.m. eastern time, and a live video stream will be carried on CUSA.TV. A 24-hour pass is available for $6.95. Fans can also listen for free on csusports.com.
CSU (2-1) is looking to build momentum off a sharp performance in Tuesday's 89-72 win over South Carolina State. The Bucs shot 50 percent, placed five players in double figures and forced 20 turnovers to control play. MTSU (2-1) opened its season with back-to-back blowout wins over non-Division I programs before falling at Belmont, 92-73, on Monday. The Blue Raiders led 54-46 at halftime but mustered only 19 points in the second half.
Although Friday's matchup is the first between the two programs, CSU will be familiar with MTSU's style of play. The Blue Raiders are led by Nick McDevitt, who guided Big South Conference rival UNC Asheville to 98 wins over the last five seasons. McDevitt took over in Murfreesboro last March after Kermit Davis, the program's all-time winningest coach, left for Ole Miss.
MTSU won a game in the NCAA Tournament in 2016 and 2017, and is 81-23 with four Conference USA crowns (two regular season and two tournament) over the last three seasons. McDevitt is guiding a new-look roster this season, though, as the Blue Raiders lost their top six scorers off last year's 25-win club. UTRGV transfer Antonio Green is MTSU's leading scorer, averaging 22.3 points through three games. Four others are also averaging in double figures.
Bucs sprint by S.C. State
CSU shot 50 percent from the floor, placed five players in double figures and forced 20 turnovers to down S.C. State, 89-72, on Tuesday. The Bucs led for 35:02 of game time and by as many as 22 points to avenge last December's overtime loss to the Bulldogs. CSU was +20 in points off turnovers and +15 from the three-point line to coast despite allowing S.C. State to shoot 53 percent.
Buskey and Price deliver best vs. Bulldogs
Sophomores Deontaye Buskey and Sean Price delivered one of their best career performances to help the Bucs' cause. Buskey tallied a career-high 13 points and consistently helped CSU control the tempo. Price helped spark CSU from an early four-point deficit and had some big baskets in the second half to keep S.C. State at bay. Price matched a career high with 13 points and set a new one with eight rebounds.
Keeling moving up Bucs' scoring chart
Junior Christian Keeling passed Adam Larrick (1995-99) for 20th place on CSU's all-time scoring list with 27 points Tuesday vs. S.C. State. He is now just 17 points away from tying Chris Moore (2004-08) for 19th place. Keeling's 27 points came on just 14 shots, as well as 9-for-9 effort at the free-throw line. It was his 23rd career 20-point game.
CSU has forced 50 turnovers in its two wins this season, including 30 in the opener against Columbia International. The Bucs were active in that department a year ago, ranking 17th nationally in forced turnovers per game (15.6). CSU forced 15 or more turnovers 18 times, and led the Big South Conference in turnover margin.