ASHEVILLE, NC - 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."