CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern begins a challenging three-game road swing with a trip to undefeated and No. 23 Furman on Tuesday. Tipoff at Timmons Arena in Greenville, S.C., is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. Fans can also listen to coverage on csusports.com.
After a ten-day layoff from game action during final exams, CSU (4-4) now faces a stretch of three games in seven days against the Paladins, a solid North Florida team and Clemson. Last time out, the Bucs rallied from a nine-point deficit to take a late five-point lead before falling to UNF, 76-70. Furman (10-0) comes off a 74-60 win over USC Upstate, and sports victories over defending national champion Villanova and 2018 Final Four participant Loyola Chicago. The Paladins earned the first national ranking in school history last week, and bumped up two spots in Monday's edition of the AP poll.
The contest puts CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh up against former assistant coach Bob Richey. Richey spent the 2006-11 seasons under Radebaugh, and helped recruit the likes of Kelvin Martin, Saah Nimley and Arlon Harper to Charleston. He served six years as an assistant at Furman before leading the Paladins to a school record-tying 23 wins a year ago in his first season at the helm.
A CSU squad that currently ranks third nationally in turnovers forced will be tested to slow down a potent Furman offense. Led by guard Jordan Lyons and the interior duo of Matt Rafferty and Clay Mounce, Furman ranks top-50 in assist-to-turnover ratio, assists per game, three-pointers made per game, scoring offense and field goal percentage. Lyons is averaging 20.2 points per game and leads the nation in three-point attempts, while Rafferty is an all-around force averaging 17.9 points, 9.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists.
Furman did trail Upstate by four points at halftime, and has two-point overtime wins over Gardner-Webb and Western Carolina. Turnovers could be critical to deciding Tuesday's contest, as CSU and Furman rank ninth and 53rd, respectively, in turnover margin.
CSU currently ranks third nationally in forced turnovers, causing 21.0 per game. Only Florida International and Portland State have forced more. The Bucs have created 99 turnovers in their four wins, and forced 25 last time out against North Florida. CSU is also 9th with a +5.9 turnover margin. It was very active in that department a year ago, ranking 17th while pacing the Big South Conference in turnover margin.
Keeling continues ascent in record book
Christian Keeling has already jumped from 21st to 18th on CSU's career scoring chart this season, and needs just 17 points to take over sole possession of 17th place. He is only 117 from entering the top ten. The junior ranks among Big South leaders in free-throw percentage (2nd), scoring (4th), assists (4th), assist-to-turnover ratio (8th), steals (10th) and blocks (T-10th).
LeXander leading Bucs' freshmen class
Duncan LeXander has quickly emerged as one of the Big South's top freshmen. LeXander is CSU's leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, and ranks among league leaders in offensive rebounds (2nd), rebounding (6th) and threes made (8th). He has scored in double figures in four straight games, and is averaging 14 points and 7.8 rebounds over that time. LeXander is also shooting 54 percent overall and 63 percent (12-19) from downtown during that span.