Charleston Southern forced 29 turnovers as part of a stifling defensive performance to overpower Longwood, 84-43, in Saturday’s Big South Conference opener at the Buc Dome.
CSU (6-6, 1-0 Big South) used a 12-0 run to build an early 20-6 advantage, led by 19 points at halftime and continued the onslaught in the second half to rout Longwood (3-11, 0-1 Big South). The Bucs’ 43 points allowed and 41-point margin of victory both marked single-game bests against Division I competition in Barclay Radebaugh’s 13-year tenure as head coach.
CSU scored 31 points off turnovers and held Longwood to 34 percent shooting to claim their fourth straight victory in the series and start league play on a resounding positive note. Christian Keeling tallied a game-high 19 points to pace a balanced effort that saw four Bucs score in double figures.
“It was a great team win and we showed a lot of improvement,” Radebaugh said. “I’m really happy about the hard work we put in over the holidays and I loved our defensive effort throughout the game. We’ve talked a lot lately about playing hard for 40 minutes and tonight I thought we did that.”
How It Happened
Phlandrous Fleming Jr. and Travis McConico knocked down three-pointers to spark the Bucs’ 12-0 spurt in the first half. The latter trey came off a great steal by Jamaal David, who went to the floor and kicked out to McConico for one of CSU’s 11 treys. Keeling ended the surge with a steal and dunk to put the Bucs in front 20-6 at the 11:42 mark.
Fleming was a perfect 3-for-3 from downtown in the opening stanza and closed the first half scoring with a triple to give CSU a 42-23 edge at intermission.
Longwood scored six straight points following a Keeling three early in the second half to draw within 16 but they would get no closer. The Bucs put together a 16-1 run to blow the game wide open. McConico and Cortez Mitchell buried threes to highlight the stretch, which Keeling capped with a free throw to send the margin to 61-30 with 12:58 remaining.
CSU cleared its bench late and pushed the lead to as many as 42 points on Jamal Thomas’s three with 2:25 left.
Inside the Numbers
The outing marked the first time CSU held a Division I foe below 50 points since February 18, 2015 against Presbyterian. The Bucs’ previous largest margin of victory against a Division I team under Radebaugh was a 39-point win at Presbyterian on February 22, 2014. Their previous benchmark for fewest points allowed versus Division I competition under Radebaugh was 45 in a win over Liberty on Feb. 11, 2006.
Fleming showed no rust after missing two games with sprained toe. He finished with 18 points, three rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals in 27 minutes.
Mitchell recorded 11 of his season-high 13 points in the second half to aid CSU’s cause. McConico rounded out the Bucs’ double-digit scorers with ten points.
Paced by eight boards from Javis Howard, CSU out-rebounded Longwood 35-31 overall and 11-7 on the offensive glass. The Bucs led the Big South in both categories entering play, while Longwood ranked last in both.
CSU collected 13 steals, marking the fourth time this season it has reached double-digits in that department.
Jashaun Smith paced the Lancers with 15 points, including 12 in the first half.
Longwood played without its leading scorer, Isaiah Walton, for the fourth consecutive game.
CSU travels to Liberty on Tuesday night. The Flames were picked second in the Big South preseason poll and opened league play with a 58-55 loss at Gardner-Webb. Tipoff at the Vines Center in Lynchburg, Va., is slated for 7 p.m.