CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern hits the road for the Big South Championships quarterfinal round as the No. 3 Buccaneers take on No. 6 Winthrop on Thursday afternoon in Gore Arena on the campus of Campbell University. Tipoff between the Bucs and the Eagles is set for 2 p.m. on ESPN3.
CSU (16-14) advanced to Thursday's quarterfinal round courtesy of the Bucs' 71-52 win over No. 11 USC Upstate on Tuesday night. The Bucs overcame a sluggish start to the first half behind strong performances from Christian Keeling (22 points, five rebounds) and Travis McConico (19 points, six rebounds) in CSU's third win over the Spartans this season.
Winthrop (18-11) earned the No. 3 seed in the tournament courtesy of a 10-6 mark in the Big South's regular season schedule. The Eagles enter the postseason on a bit of a skid having dropped three of their last four games with their lone win coming on February 23 in double-overtime against the Bucs.
The Eagles took both of the regular season matchups against Charleston Southern. The Bucs fell at home to the Eagles, 76-72, on February 7, after nearly mounting a double-digit comeback attempt in regulation. CSU nearly pulled off the double-overtime upset in the rematch on February 23 in Rock Hill, before the Eagles connected on a pair of free throws to secure the 80-78 win.
Thursday's contest features a pair of Big South All-Conference selections in CSU's Christian Keeling (First Team) and Winthrop's Nych Smith (Second Team).
CSU Quick Hits
- Charleston Southern advances back to the quarterfinal round for the third consecutive season as the Buccaneers take on No. 3 Winthrop on Thursday afternoon.
- The Buccaneers advanced to the quarterfinal round for the 32nd time in program history.
- CSU's matchup against Winthrop marks the sixth matchup against the Eagles in the quarterfinal round dating back to the 1989 season.
- The Bucs picked up their first win in the quarterfinals against Winthrop back in 2013 with a 54-47 win over the Eagles.
- The Bucs are 14-17 all-time in quarterfinal round dating back to the 1986 postseason.
- Christian Keeling (pictured left) and Dontrell Shuler were recognized among the conference's award winners on Monday evening with Keeling earning First Team and All-Academic recognition, while Shuler garnered an All-Freshman nod.
- The Bucs fell to Winthrop both times in the regular season dropping a home matchup against the Eagles on February 7, 76-72, while falling in double-overtime on the road, 80-78, on February 23.
- For the second consecutive season, CSU ended the regular season on a hot streak as the Bucs recorded wins in eight of their last 11 games to finish in a four-way tie for fifth in the conference standings.
- CSU is the No. 6 seed for the third time in program history.
Winthrop Quick Hits
- Winthrop was picked second overall in the Big South Men's Basketball preseason poll announced at the conference's media day. The Eagles received 280 points overall and two first place votes.
- Winthrop junior forward Josh Ferguson was recognized on the conference's preseason Second Team after returning as the Big South's fourth-leading rebounder.
- Winthrop finished third in the conference standings with a 10-6 record. The Eagles were led by Second Team All-Conference selection Nych Smith and All-Academic selection Bjorn Broman
- The Eagles boast an 11-3 record at home this season, but is just 7-8 away from the Winthrop Coliseum.
- Nych Smith (16.9) leads four Winthrop players averaging double-digit points per game this season.
- The Eagles lead the nation in three-pointers per game (12.5) and total three-pointers made (363).
- Winthrop is third in the NCAA in three-point attempts with 967 on the season.
Advancing Into the Quarterfinals
Charleston Southern has advanced into the quarterfinal round in each of the last three seasons thanks to first round victories over USC Upstate, Longwood and Presbyterian. Overall, CSU has lined up in a quarterfinal game 31 times in program history.
The Buccaneers are 14-17 overall in quarterfinal games dating back to the 1986 postseason. CSU's best opponent mark in the quarterfinal round is against former Big South member Coastal Carolina with CSU posting a 6-2 mark against the Chanticleers in the round.
Against the current iteration of Big South opponents, the Bucs are 3-12 all-time in the quarterfinal round, including a 1-4 mark against No. 3 Winthrop.
Bucs Wins in Quarterfinals vs. Current Big South Field
No. 2 CSU 69, No. 7 Campbell 61 – 1988
No. 4 CSU 55, No. 5 Radford 52 – 1996
No. 1S CSU 54, No. 5S Winthrop 47 - 2013
Looking at the Quarterfinal Matchup
Charleston Southern is 1-4 all-time in the quarterfinals against No. 3 Winthrop as the Buccaneers face the Eagles on the tournament's second day for the second time in the last three years. Winthrop won the first three matchups against the Bucs dating back to the 1989 season, while CSU picked up its lone win during the stretch in 2013.
Bucs vs. Winthrop in Big South Quarterfinal Round
No. 6 Winthrop 81, No. 3 CSU 68 – 1989
No. 4 Winthrop 61, No. 5 CSU 53 – 1990
No. 1 Winthrop 72, No. 8 CSU 42 – 2007
No. 1S CSU 54, No. 5S Winthrop 47 – 2013
No. 1 Winthrop 82, No. 8 CSU 78 - 2017