CharlestonSouthern shot 62 percent in the first half and made ten three-pointers to builda 26-point halftime lead and cruise to a 95-58 win over Presbyterian at the BucDome on Wednesday night.
CSU(8-8, 2-1 BSC) regrouped following its loss at Winthrop to post a convincingvictory over PC (4-14, 0-3 BSC). The Bucs led by double figures for the entiregame following an Arlon Harper jumper with 12:34 left in the first half.
SeniorMatt Kennedy paced CSU with 21 points, highlighted by three first half threesas the Bucs connected on 10-of-19 from beyond the arc to take a 52-26 halftimelead. Junior point guard Saah Nimley posted one of his most efficient effortsof the season, hitting for 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting while alsodistributing five assists.
"Weplayed really well offensively in the first half," CSU head coach BarclayRadebaugh said after moving to within seven wins of becoming the program'sall-time winningest coach. "Just a great effort by our guys, and a great bounceback game. We knew we were better than the way we played against Winthrop. Wecertainly played up to our abilities in the first half and we've got tocontinue to grow, fight to get better, and prepare for our next game."
PCwas led by junior center William Truss' 18 points and eight rebounds, while DannyHerrera chipped in 14. The Bucs frustrated the Big South's second leadingscorer in Jordan Downing, limiting him to only six points on 3-of-12 shooting.
"ArlonHarper did a great job on [Jordan Downing] tonight," Radebaugh said. "He reallysacrificed his game for the good of the team and was terrific defensively. Weknew Downing could get his points so to be able to hold him to 3-for-12 is whatwe were hoping for."
Nimleytallied 12 points and four assists in the first half alone, playing the role ofcatalyst by sailing through consecutive threes to give the Bucs a 40-18 lead atthe 6:03 mark of the opening stanza.
"Saahwas terrific tonight," Radebaugh said. "I think Coach (BJ) McKie had a prettygood talk with him yesterday. He just told him to relax and be SaahNimley. Just being Saah Nimley is good enough. We love Saah and we wouldn'ttrade him for any point guard in our league. He is certainly a terrific playerand he played well tonight."
JordanDowning gave PC their final lead of the first half at 8-7 on a short jumper atthe 17:13 mark, but Harper followed on the next CSU trip down the court with athree from the left wing as the Buccaneers took the 10-8 advantage.
TheHarper triple jumpstarted the CSU offense as Kennedy followed with a triple andthe Bucs went on a 13-2 run capped by a three-pointer by Will Saunders. TheSaunders three-pointer from the left wing put the Bucs ahead 20-10 with 13:04remaining and the Bucs weren't done yet as they continued to increase theiradvantage.
TheBucs' defense also clamped down on the Blue Hose offense, holding Presbyterianscoreless for a nearly four minute stretch as the Charleston Southern leadstretched to 40-18 with 6:03 remaining. Nimley connected on back-to-back threesto cap off the 10-2 run, and the Bucs' lead then grew to 50-24 on a Kennedythree.
MarkusTerry put in the final basket of the half for the Blue Hose with a drivinglayup, before Bowen put the exclamation point on the half with a tip-in asCharleston Southern went into the locker room sporting the 52-26 edge.
Kennedykept the Buccaneers hot-shooting going to open up the second half with a treyfrom the right corner.
Presbyterianwould never get closer than 24 the rest of the way as Kennedy poured in 12 of his21 in the second half. Alhaji Fullah threw down a pair of dunks late to helpaccount for the final advantage, while senior Thomas Odom also recorded hisfirst points of the season with a three from the top of the key.
CSUreturns to action on Saturday when it hosts UNC Asheville inside the Buc Domeat 5:30 p.m.
"UNCAsheville will be a terrific challenge," Radebaugh said. "They are one of thehottest teams in our league, if not the hottest team in our league. They have aterrific team and we'll have to be ready for them Saturday night."