Charleston Southern trailed for only 3:09 in Tuesday night's matchup of Bucs versus Bucs, but East Tennessee State's John Walton put back a miss with 3.7 seconds to give the visitors a 59-57 win in NCAA men's basketball action in the CSU Field House.
CSU falls to 1-3 with the loss, while ETSU improves to 1-2.
The shots didn't fall for the Bucs who scored 35 points in the opening 15 minutes and 24 the rest of the game.
"It looked like we were pressing," CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh said. "We got the looks we wanted, but the ball didn't seem to go in. I'll have to go back and watch to see, but we might have been pressing (to make shots). Credit to ETSU. They're a very good team, very athletic team, and played very hard."
Arlon Harper paced Charleston Southern with 13 points. ETSU's Lester Wilson led all scorers with 26 points, shooting a sizzling 6-for-12 from beyond the arc.
CSU could not sustain the 20-point lead it built in the first half, as ETSU rallied to outscore the hosts 34-11 over the next 16 minutes. The squads battled closely for the final nine minutes, swapping the lead three times with five tie scores.
After East Tennessee State's Kinard Gadsden-Gilliard gave the visitors their first lead of the second stanza at 49-46, Harper answered back with a steal, dunk on which he was fouled, and follow-up free throw to even the game. Seconds later, Sheldon Strickland picked a ETSU ball handler and laid it up on the other end to give CSU a 52-49 lead.
Wilson answered back with two more three-pointers and the score was knotted at 57 after a Mathiang Muo free throw to set the stage for ETSU's final possession. Wilson milked the clock to eight seconds before missing a shot, rebounded by Gadsden-Gilliard and unsuccessfully put up a close shot which was cleared by a CSU defender with four ticks left. John Walton stripped the ball away and put in the final basket. CSU's Saah Nimley launched a desperation heave to no avail.
CSU gained its first double-digit lead in the eleventh minute of the contest on a three pointer from Sheldon Strickland to put the margin at 20-9. Two minutes later, ETSU's John Walton picked up his third foul and the host Bucs started a 10-2 run fueled by Strickland's five and a three-point play by Arlon Harper. The run extended the lead to 35-15 with a little under six minutes remaining in the first period.
ETSU would answer back with a 16-3 spurt over the final six minutes to bring the tally to 38-31 at the break. Lester Wilson accounted for 11 of those markers, knocking down three triples and a two-point basket on four-for-four shooting during that span.
Wilson led all scorers with 26 points and added eight rebounds. Gadsen-Gilliard added 12 points and five boards.
Harper led the Bucs with 13 points and Nimley added 10, but CSU could not connect from three-point range. CSU shot 18 percent (2-of-11) in the second half and 8-of-27 for the game.
The Bucs host College of Charleston a week from Wednesday, November 30, after a post-Thanksgiving road contest with Alabama next Friday.