The Charleston Southern Buccaneers dominated for 40 minutes and had six players score in double figures to blow by visiting Virginia Intermont, 105-59, on Saturday night at Buccaneer Fieldhouse.
Sophomore forward Cedrick Bowen matched his career high with 17 points and added a career high eight rebounds, while Saah Nimley had his second straight 20-point game to improve the Bucs to 5-6. UVI falls to 7-8 and has a three-game win streak snapped.
The Bucs finished a 4-1 month of December in impressive fashion shooting 50.7 percent for the game and 54 percent from beyond the arch. CSU knocked down 15-of-28 three-point attempts and outrebounded the Cobras, who had won 7-of-10, by 16.
It was CSU's most complete, 40-minute effort of the season.
"We couldn't have played much better than we did tonight," Radebaugh said afterward. "Traditionally, [Virginia Intermont] hasn't had a great team. This year, they've got a great team. Everyone at the game tonight saw their size, their athleticism, their ability to shoot the ball and they'll be a very competitive team. We spent three days preparing for them, and they got our very best effort. I'm really proud of the way our team responded. We were very mature before the game, during halftime and during the game."
CSU's entire lineup was ready to play following Christmas break. The Bucs bench outscored UVI's, 52-7, and three players reached double digits in a reserve role.
Bowen fueled the Bucs off the bench with his two career highs. He was 7-of-10 from the floor and had a number of putback dunks in the first half as CSU controlled the glass. Bowen matched his career high with 17, matching his mark in a win over Stetson last December.
"I have two words for Cedric: mature and productive," Radebaugh said gleaming about his sophomore forward's progress. "This time last year, he didn't know how to get to the gym. Now he's becoming not only one of the best players on our team, but one of the best power forwards in the league. His improvement has been drastic."
Sheldon Strickland and Joe Williams each reached double figures in reserve roles. Strickland was 3-of-4 from three-point range and had three assists, while Wiliams was 4-of-6 from the floor and had six rebounds.
Nimley was 7-of-12 from the floor and controlled the game, knocking down four three-pointers and dishing out eight assists to go with three steals.
The Bucs played above UVI from the outset and looked ready for Big South Conference play, which begins next Saturday against Radford.
"We've played well five games in a row," Radebaugh said of his team's 4-1 record this month. "We played well tonight. Every Big South game will be a battle, and over half of those games will come down to the last ten minutes. Tonight was a good step in the right direction."
The Bucs started fast, racing to a 7-0 lead as Arlon Harper scored the game's first five points.
Virginia Intermont hung tough for the opening 10 minutes, somewhat matching CSU bucket-for-bucket to stay within six at 24-18 with 9:23 to play in the half.
CSU would rip off a 18-4 run to break the game open to a 20-point advantage over the next five minutes and pour it on from there.
Nimley, Jeremy Sexton, and Mathiang Muo, who played 12 minutes in his first action since November, each knocked down three pointers to extend the lead to 42-22.
CSU would lead by 26 at the half, 54-28, as Strickland connected on a pair of threes and Bowen added another dunk as the Bucs' scored the final eight points of the half.
The Bucs shot 60 percent from three-point range (6-of-10) and held UVI to only eight field goals in the half.
Harper had 11 points to reach double figures for the fifth-straight game, and Jeremy Sexton added 10. CSU had eight players grab three rebounds or more.
CSU gets a week to prepare for its Big South opener. It travels to Radford next Saturday for a 4 p.m. tip. The Bucs host Winthrop University in their home opener on Jan. 9 at 7:30 p.m.