CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern rallied from a nine-point deficit to take a late five-point lead but North Florida answered with a game-ending 16-5 run to secure a 76-70 victory Saturday at the Buc Dome.
CSU (4-4) trailed 50-41 with 16:03 left before clawing back, eventually moving ahead 65-60 at the 6:37 mark thanks to a 7-0 spurt. North Florida (4-5) responded with an 8-1 run to go on top for good courtesy of Ivan Gandia-Rosa's three-pointer with 4:34 remaining. The Bucs closed back to within one twice but four missed free throws and several missed opportunities allowed the Ospreys to prevail. Noah Horchler's dunk with 17 seconds left effectively iced the game for North Florida, which will host CSU in Jacksonville in two weeks.
CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh liked his team's fight but knows it must execute better to pull out tight games in the future.
"They made the plays down the stretch that we couldn't make," Radebaugh said. "I thought our guys played extremely hard, creating 25 turnovers and a ton of deflections. We got hurt on the boards by their size and not boxing out quite a bit. Offensively, we really struggled to make shots and had a five-point lead late that we weren't able to build on. It's a great learning experience and we'll look forward to using this experience to get better over the next ten days."
How It Happened
- Christian Keeling recorded a three-point play, drove for a layup and stole and fed Dontrell Shuler for a layup to power CSU's 7-0 run that accounted for a 65-60 lead.
- Two Gandia-Rosa triples, sandwiched around a Garrett Sams steal and lay-in, helped UNF retake control. With the score 70-69 UNF and following a CSU turnover, JT Escobar buried a corner three to put the Ospreys ahead 73-69 with 1:37 left. It was Escobar's only basket of the game.
- The Bucs had possession down 73-70 but Keeling missed a layup in traffic and Escobar grabbed the rebound and found Horchler running ahead of the pack for the clinching dunk.
- In the first half, CSU jumped out to a 5-0 lead and was aided by an active effort from freshman Duncan LeXander. LeXander tallied the Bucs' first five points and nine of their first 15 to help CSU take a four-point lead at the 14:25 mark.
- UNF turned the half in its favor from there, eventually taking a lead as large as 32-24 on a Gandia-Rosa triple with 8:02 remaining. CSU tied the game at 37-37 before the Ospreys took a 42-37 edge into halftime.
Inside the Numbers
- Sams led all scorers with 20 points. Horchler, last year's ASUN Newcomer of the Year, added 17 and nine rebounds. Gandia-Rosa, a Preseason All-ASUN pick, was 5-for-9 from downtown en route to 15 points and six assists.
- Keeling paced CSU with 17 and moved past Dave Kirk (1970-74) for 18th place on the program's career scoring list. Keeling's six assists are the second-most in his career.
- Shuler recorded 11 of his career-high 16 points in the second half to spark CSU. His three threes and 30 minutes of action both marked career highs.
- CSU, which entered third nationally in forced turnovers per game, harried UNF into 25 turnovers. That led to the Bucs attempting 13 more shots than the Ospreys.
- Horchler and Aminu grabbed nine rebounds apiece to help the Ospreys control the glass to the tune of 47-35.
CSU has a ten-day break from game action for final exams before heading to Furman on December 11. The Paladins are currently 8-0 and sport a win over defending national champion Villanova.