CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern ripped off a 19-5 run early in the second half to pull away from Johnson & Wales for an 86-61 victory Friday at the Buc Dome. The Bucs sunk 15 three-pointers, including 11 in the second half, and forced 25 turnovers to cap the pre-Christmas slate on a winning note.
CSU (5-7) took a 12-point lead into halftime courtesy of a 13-3 spurt, but Johnson & Wales (5-7) closed the gap to 32-25 with five quick points from Majerle Poole. The Bucs took over from there, building their lead to as many as 29 points.
Christian Keeling paced CSU with 26 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, moving into 11th place on the program's career scoring list in the process. Deontaye Buskey pumped in 17 points on the strength of five three-pointers. Travis McConico corralled a career-high 17 rebounds, including 12 on the offensive glass, to power CSU to a commanding 54-34 rebounding advantage.
CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh is looking forward to seeing his team continue to grow as the new year approaches.
"Thankfully, we played really, really hard," Radebaugh said. "Defensively, we were terrific and on the boards we were amazing. We were coming off some tough losses against high quality opponents and we needed this."
"Offensively, we've gotta keep working because we're missing open shots," Radebaugh continued. "We had a little bit more ball movement and people movement in the second half, and were able to make some shots and looked a little bit more like ourselves. Our guys are looking forward to a well-deserved break, and we look forward to getting after it again when we come back."
How It Happened
- After Poole connected on a three and a jumper to bring JWU within 32-25, CSU staged the decisive 19-5 run to forge a 51-30 cushion with 14:30 left. McConico highlighted the surge with a three and a tip-in, while Nate Louis, Buskey and Duncan LeXander also drilled triples.
- A Dontrell Shuler trey provided the Bucs their largest lead, 84-55, at the 2:22 mark.
- In the first half, JWU, a USCAA program, jumped out to a 4-0 lead and made CSU work to put the game out of reach.
- Following a 10-0 run that gave CSU a 10-4 lead, JWU answered back to come within 14-12 on Robert Hobson's layup with 8:01 remaining. It was still a two-point game at the 5:53 mark before CSU capped the period on a 13-3 spurt. The Bucs scored the final six points of the stanza, highlighted by a Louis three and Keeling's layup off an offensive rebound and assist from McConico.
Inside the Numbers
- Keeling's fifth 20-point performance of the season and 27th of his career allowed him to jump from 15th to 11th on CSU's career scoring chart. The Augusta, Ga., product is now 43 points away from tying David Oliver (1987-91) for tenth place.
- McConico's 17 rebounds were the most by a CSU player since Kelvin Martin grabbed 17 against The Citadel on Dec. 14, 2011.
- CSU was just 4-for-24 from downtown in the opening half, but bounced back to hit 11-of-20 following intermission.
- Poole tallied all 17 of his points in the second half to pace JWU. Hobson and Zyrion Wilkins chipped in 11 apiece.
Following the Christmas break, CSU will host Piedmont International for a 5:30 p.m. tip on Dec. 30. Big South Conference play opens Jan. 5 at the Buc Dome against High Point.