Charleston Southern rallied from a 12-point deficit to take a late lead but Radford persevered to stay unbeaten in Big South Conference play and hold off CSU, 64-61, Tuesday at the Buc Dome.
Christian Keeling’s steal and layup capped a 16-3 run to vault CSU (6-9, 1-3 Big South) in front, 58-57, with 2:51 remaining. Radford (11-6, 4-0 Big South) tied the game on Randy Phillips’s free throw 29 seconds later and moved ahead for good on Carlik Jones’s pull-up jumper at the 1:37 mark. Keeling’s long three-pointer fell off the mark just in front of the buzzer, allowing the Highlanders to prevail.
CSU showed grit and toughness to challenge a first-place Radford squad coming off a 20-point win over preseason league favorite, UNC Asheville. The Bucs forced 17 turnovers, out-rebounded the Highlanders 30-25 and held dynamic forward Ed Polite Jr. to nine points and a 1-of-7 effort from the field. Offensive struggles proved the difference, though, as CSU shot just 43 percent overall and 4-for-18 from three-point range.
“Radford has good, tough veteran guys and they made enough plays to win,” CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh said. “I was so proud of our guys. That group we had on the floor the last ten minutes or so – three freshmen and two sophomores – brought us back down from 12 and played with tremendous energy and tenacity. I’m encouraged because of the toughness that we played with but we just didn’t execute well enough or make enough open shots to win.”
-per CSU Athletics