UNC Asheville ripped off a 27-9 second half run to break open a tight game and defeat Charleston Southern, 83-73, Monday at Kimmel Arena.
CSU (6-11, 1-5 Big South) fell behind 11-0 and trailed 26-12 with 12:13 left in the first half but fought back to within five points at halftime and closed its deficit to 54-52 on Christian Keeling’s jumper at the 14:26 mark. Asheville (11-8, 4-2 Big South) countered with six straight points, though, to jumpstart the game’s decisive stretch and claim its third consecutive win. Ahmad Thomas’s layup gave the Bulldogs a double-digit lead for good with 9:14 remaining and the advantage eventually ballooned to 81-61 on another lay-in almost five minutes later.
For stretches, the Bucs played as well offensively as they have all year, snapping out of a four-game shooting funk. CSU shot 53 percent in the opening half and converted 16 of its final 24 shots of the stanza after starting 0-for-6. Asheville opened hot and stayed that way; however, shooting 62 percent overall while sinking 13-of-21 three-point tries. MaCio Teague tallied 23 of his season-high 27 points in the first half, while Thomas, a fellow first-team all-conference pick last year, added 19 on 8-for-10 shooting.
CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh knows his young club must keep working to improve with still 12 league games ahead.
“We had spurts but then we had a dry spell offensively and it affected us on the defensive end,” Radebaugh said of Asheville’s 27-9 run. “A two-point game quickly went to 12 or 14 and then they made so many shots that we just couldn’t get back in it.”
“I’m really proud of the way that we’ve handled this tough stretch,” Radebaugh continued. “Our guys brought amazing energy tonight. These kids really, really want to improve and win so there’s just a lot of hard work ahead of us. The best thing we can do is get home, evaluate this film, find two or more things that we can work on and just click away at them.”
-per CSU Athletics