CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern delivered its best offensive performance of the young season and forced 20 turnovers to down South Carolina State, 89-72, Tuesday at the Buc Dome.
CSU (2-1) led by as many as 22 points and for 35:02 of game time to avenge last December’s overtime loss at S.C. State (1-2). Christian Keeling pumped in a season-high 27 points to pace five players in double figures. The Bucs shot an even 50 percent and scored 26 points off turnovers to forge a big cushion, and then turned back the Bulldogs’ rally after they cut their deficit to ten on four occasions.
CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh continues to be encouraged by a young group that has played its first three games without sophomore star Phlandrous Fleming Jr., who is day-to-day with a minor injury.
“I’m very pleased with the progress we’re making as a team,” Radebaugh said. “The way we lost in Orangeburg last year, up nine with a couple of minutes to go, was really tough on us and we felt like we had something to prove.”
“I loved that they made a run and that we had to respond and execute with freshmen on the floor, Travis McConico out of position, etc.,” Radebaugh continued. “It’s very healthy that we’re in that situation. We responded and I loved the aggression that we played with and how we shared the ball. Our guys are growing.”
How It Happened
- CSU led 48-30 at halftime and pushed its edge to 69-47 on Keeling’s bucket at the 11:39 mark. S.C. State whittled away at its deficit from there, closing the gap to 74-64 on Damani Applewhite’s jumper with 6:38 left. Sean Price banked in an offensive put back, though, a minute later, to put the Bucs up a dozen.
- Baskets by Deontaye Buskey and Keeling ensured the Bulldogs never came closer than ten just minutes later. Following a Rayshawn Neal driving bucket with 1:27 remaining, CSU scored the last seven points to account for the final margin.
- In the first half, S.C. State jumped out to an 8-4 lead before Dontrell Shuler and Price sparked the Bucs’ off the bench. Keeling found each for three-pointers, with the latter sending CSU in front 14-10. Duncan LeXander and Keeling quickly tacked on threes of their own to send CSU’s advantage to 20-12.
- CSU created distance with a 14-4 first half run that upped its advantage from six to 16. Buskey’s triple and a Keeling three-point play helped highlight that stretch.
Inside the Numbers
- Keeling moved past Adam Larrick (1995-99) into 20th place on CSU’s all-time scoring list. He now has 1,089 career points in 62 games. The performance marked his 23rd 20-point outing.
- Price matched a career high with 13 points and set a new one with eight rebounds, including three offensive boards. Buskey added a new scoring high with 13 points and effectively pushed the tempo for the Bucs throughout the night.
- Shuler recorded his second consecutive 11-point showing, with LeXander rounded out the double figure scorers with ten.
- CSU was +20 in points off turnovers and +15 from the three-point line. The turnovers, in particular, helped the Bucs coast despite the Bulldogs’ 53 percent shooting mark.