CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern is back on the court this weekend as the Buccaneers host Campbell on Saturday afternoon with tipoff set for 5:30 p.m. at the Buccaneer Field House.
The Buccaneers (7-9, 1-2 Big South) are coming off one of its best offensive performances of the season, placing five players in double figures, to down Longwood in a shootout, 101-91, Saturday at Willett Hall. CSU trailed 43-41 at halftime before starting the second half on a 16-5 run to take the lead and control for good. Longwood pulled within one once and within one score two other times but the Bucs provided answer after answer to claim their sixth straight win in the series.
Senior Travis McConico scored CSU's first eight points of the second stanza, and 11 of its first 14, to provide the Bucs a jolt en route to a season-high 19 markers. Phlandrous Fleming Jr. led the way with 25 points, while Christian Keeling tallied a double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds. Dontrell Shuler and Ty Jones added 13 and 12 points, respectively. Shuler helped CSU contain Longwood point guard Shabooty Phillips, while Jones notched several key baskets to turn away the Lancers' efforts at a comeback.
CSU enters the contest boasting one of the most robust defensive units in the conference sitting in the top five in the NCAA in both turnovers forced (20.44, 2nd) and turnover margin (+5.7, 4th). The Bucs have forced at least 20 turnovers in eight different games this season, topping the 30-turnover mark twice this season. Campbell is averaging just 11.5 turnovers per game this season with the Bucs looking to force the Camels into positions when they struggle to hold onto possession.
The Bucs are also among the national leaders in offensive rebounds per game. CSU is averaging 15.00 per game to sit fourth in the NCAA in the category and have reached double-digits in the category in 15 of the 16 games played this season.
Charleston Southern split the season series with Campbell last season with both teams winning at their respective home courts. The Camels took the series opener at Gore Arena, 62-47, while the Bucs took the return win on February 22, 2018, 72-68.
Campbell held Charleston Southern to 31 percent shooting, including a 21 percent clip in the first half, to record a 62-47 win at Gore Arena. CSU forced 17 turnovers and limited the Big South's top shooting team to a 44 percent mark but could never get its offense in rhythm. The Bucs went just 6-for-28 from the field in the opening stanza as Campbell built a 35-15 halftime lead. The Fighting Camels led by as many as 25 points in the second half before CSU capped the game on a 13-3 run to cut into the final margin.
Charleston Southern is playing the best basketball of its season at an ideal time. The Bucs picked up their fourth win in five games Thursday against Campbell, limiting the Big South Conference's top shooting team to a 38 percent clip en route to a 72-68 Senior Day victory.
CSU built a lead as large as 13 points early in the second half and held on after Campbell closed within two twice in the final minute. The triumph keeps the Bucs in contention for a top-six seed and first-round bye in next week's Big South Championship. CSU is in a three-way tie for sixth entering the regular season finale, and needs a win Saturday and help to secure a spot in the quarterfinals.
Big South Success
Dating back to January 21, 2018, the Buccaneers have posted a 9-5 record in Big South Conference play. The Bucs finished out the 2017-18 season with an 8-3 record on their way to tying for fifth overall in the regular season and earning the No. 8 seed in the conference tournament. Included during the stretch are wins over Gardner-Webb, Radford, High Point, Liberty, Presbyterian, Longwood (twice), Campbell, Winthrop.
With a veteran team returning starters Christian Keeling, Phlandrous Fleming, and Deontaye Buskey, the Bucs are well poised to continue their conference success this year. The Bucs hit 100-points for the first time in conference play and the first time since the 2010-11 season when CSU topped VMI, 101-90, on February 3, 2011.
CSU hits the road to the Dedmon Center for a Thursday evening contest against Radford on January 24. Tipoff between the Bucs and the Highlanders on ESPN+ is set for 7 p.m.