Complete defensive effort paces CSU past Gardner-Webb on Saturday evening

Complete defensive effort paces CSU past Gardner-Webb on Saturday evening

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern put together a complete defensive effort on Saturday evening in the Buccaneer Field House as CSU topped visiting Gardner-Webb, 64-50.

The Bucs (8-11, 2-4) held Gardner-Webb (12-9, 2-4) to 16.7% shooting in the first half on their way to building a 14-point halftime lead. CSU cruised from there, going up by as many as 26 on their way to the Big South home win.

Ty Jones sparked the CSU offense for the second consecutive game as the sophomore forward finished with a team-high 18 points and nine rebounds. He added two blocked shots in helping the Bucs limit the Runnin' Bulldogs to a 32.8% field goal percentage.

Christian Keeling (13) and Phlandrous Fleming Jr. (10) added double-digit scoring off the bench with Keeling going a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line, while Fleming added a season-high six assists.

David Efianayi led all scorers with 23 points, 20 coming in the second half as the Runnin' Bulldogs attempted to fight their way back into the contest. Jose Perez added 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting in the loss.

How It Happened

  • A stifling CSU defense limited Gardner-Webb to 4-of-24 (16.7%) from the floor in the first half and 1-of-12 (8.3%) over the first 20 minutes.
  • Duncan LeXander put in his first three-pointer of the game and Dontrell Shuler added a pair of free throws to give CSU the quick 5-0 lead early in the first half.
  • The Runnin' Bulldogs responded with seven consecutive points with Jaheam Cornwall giving GWU their lone lead of the night at 7-5 with 14:16 remaining in the first half.
  • Sadarius Bowser swung the advantage back to the Bucs with a layup to even the score as CSU went on an 11-2 run over the next four minutes to take the 18-9 lead.
  • CSU's lead reached 14 just before the break following six consecutive points by Jones as the sophomore finished with a team-high eight points and six rebounds in the first half.
  • The Bucs' lead reached 26 with 12:12 remaining in the contest following a Fleming three-pointer as CSU took their largest margin of the contest.
  • Gardner-Webb cut it down to 14 with 3:18 remaining following a trio of three-pointers by Efianayi (two) and Eric Jamison Jr. to narrow the CSU lead down to 60-46.
  • The Bucs sealed the game from the free throw line late with Keeling, Shuler, McConico, and Jones hitting 12 consecutive free throws to close out the game and secure the 74-60 win.

Inside the Numbers

  • Gardner-Webb entered Saturday leading the Big South and sitting 27th in the NCAA in field goal percentage (48.6%), but the Bucs effectively stifled the Runnin' Bulldogs defense limited GWU to 32.8% (19-of-58) from the field in the contest.
  • Ty Jones was back in double-digits for the fourth consecutive game and led the Bucs in back-to-back games for the first time in his career following his 18-point, nine-rebound game.
  • The Bucs held the 42-33 rebounding edge in the contest with 10 offensive boards leading to six second-chance points.
  • CSU picked up its first Big South home win of the season after previously falling to both High Point (51-50) and Campbell (73-72).
  • The Buccaneers were a perfect 18-of-18 from the free throw line with Jones (6-of-6) and Keeling (6-of-6) pacing CSU in the category. It marked the first time since 2015 the Bucs were perfect from the charity stripe (Winthrop, Dec. 2, 2015 – 10-of-10).
  • Three different CSU players recorded at least seven rebounds in the game with Jones (9), McConico (7), and Fleming (7) all crashing the boards for the Bucs.
  • Keeling kept his double-digit scoring streak alive at 20 consecutive games following his 13-point effort.

Postgame Quotes/Comments
"That's a good team (Gardner-Webb), a team that won at Georgia Tech and won at Wake Forest. I thought we got back to the basics of defending and rebounding. I thought our guys did a really good job. Our first half defense was amazing. Overall a very, very good defensive performance. We continue to improve and grow." – Head Coach Barclay Radebaugh

"I thought it was a huge win, especially for the younger guys to know that we are just going to get better and better. We're going to make a run. It's not necessarily how you start but how you finish. We're moving forward." – Senior forward Travis McConico.

Up Next
Charleston Southern remains at home hosting Presbyterian on January 30 in Big South Conference play. Tipoff on ESPN+ is set for 7:30 p.m.

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