Buccaneers fend off Spartans

Buccaneers fend off Spartans

SPARTANBURG, SC - Charleston Southern built a 16-point lead with an 18-0 run spanning both halves, and answered several USC Upstate rallies down the stretch to prevail, 82-72, Saturday at the G.B. Hodge Center.

CSU (2-2) scored the final 15 points of the first half to take a 38-25 halftime lead, and pushed its edge to 16 on a Travis McConico three-pointer 13 seconds into the second. Upstate (1-3), behind the red-hot shooting of forward Ramel Thompkins, closed to within three on three occasions but the Bucs kept responding to hold on for the win.

Phlandrous Fleming Jr. paced four CSU double-figure scorers with a career-high 19 points. Fleming buried clutch triples at the 8:05 and 6:10 marks to up the Bucs' advantage to six each of the first two times the Spartans drew within three.

Christian Keeling, making his season debut, helped ice the game with a three-point play that provided a 72-63 lead with 1:19 left. Keeling struggled early on but still finished just shy of a double-double with 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds.

CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh was pleased with the way his club executed on the road against a more veteran Upstate team that challenged Georgia on Tuesday.

"That's a team that led Georgia by five points with five minutes to go so to come here to their home floor and perform like that with four freshmen and a lot of new guys speaks to how hard they've worked," Radebaugh said. "Our assistant coaches and players have worked to learn and execute our system. Our in-game execution was flawless and it's great to get a quality win over a quality opponent."

-per CSU Athletics