CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern nearly overcame a double-digit lead with a furious comeback over the closing 3:53 before succumbing to visiting Winthrop on Thursday evening inside the Buccaneer Field House, 76-72.
The Bucs (10-12, 4-5) rallied back from a 16-point deficit after trailing 73-57 as CSU's defense stood up and produced six turnovers on Winthrop's (15-8, 7-3) final nine possessions of the contest. CSU cut the lead all the way down to 75-72 following a pair of Christian Keeling free throws, but three late three-pointers were off the mark as the clock ran out on the Bucs' comeback attempt.
Dontrell Shuler led the Bucs with a team-high 16 points, while Phlandrous Fleming added14 points and six assists off the bench in the loss. Christian Keeling added nine points and a game-high 14 rebounds to help supplement the CSU attack.
Charles Falden (17) and Josh Ferguson (17) paced Winthrop's offense as the Eagles shot 47.6% from the floor and 44.8% from the three-point line in the win. Adam Pickett added 14 points and four assists in the win.
How It Happened
- Winthrop took the early lead as the Eagles took the game inside with their first six points scored in the paint to build the 6-1 advantage.
- The Bucs rallied back with a 9-1 run sparked by a Shuler layup and Deontaye Buskey added a three-pointer to put CSU ahead 10-6 with 12:55 left in the first half.
- The teams swapped the lead before CSU utilized a 10-2 run capped by Keeling's three-point play with 5:32 remaining to give the Bucs their largest lead, 27-18.
- Winthrop responded with a 10-1 run sparked by back-to-back triples from Ferguson and Pickett to even the game for the third time at 28-28.
- McConico ended the scoring in the first half with a jumper in the paint with 11 seconds remaining to send the teams into the half with CSU leading 35-33.
- The teams tied the score twice before Winthrop swung the advantage to the Eagles for good on Falden's three-pointer at the 15:22 mark.
- The Eagles' triple helped pace Winthrop to a double-digit lead with 6:57 remaining in the contest on a Falden jumper to put the score at 62-52.
- Nych Smith and Kyle Zunic connected on a pair of three-pointers to stretch Winthrop's advantage to its largest of the night at 73-57 with 3:53 to play.
- The Bucs rallied back with Shuler scoring four consecutive points and Nate Louis connecting on a triple at the 2:54 mark to cut the WU lead to 73-64.
- Shuler and Fleming scored the next six CSU points to narrow the gap to 75-70 with 1:22 to play.
- Keeling's pair of free throws cut the Winthrop advantage to three with 17 seconds left, but that was it for the Bucs as three-point attempts by Shuler and Keeling (twice) were unable to fall in the closing seconds.
Inside the Numbers
- Christian Keeling became the 58th player in Big South history and the fifth Buccaneer to achieve 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds on Thursday night. Keeling finished the contest with 1,426 career points and 505 rebounds over his three seasons with the Bucs.
- CSU's three-game winning streak in Big South play came to an end on Thursday night and dropped the Bucs' record to 1-3 in conference play at the Buccaneer Field House.
- Keeling recorded his sixth double-digit rebounding game of the season and 12th of his career.
- Nate Louis scored double-digits for the second time in the last three games after going 4-of-5 from the three-point line.
- Dontrell Shuler recorded a career-high five steals in 34 minutes of play.
"Winthrop is a good team and played very hard. Congratulations to them. They really stretch you defensively and they shoot the ball well. I thought the last three or four minutes, we showed a tremendous amount of courage and effort to never quit. I thought we gave ourselves a chance to win it late. We have seven more games and still a chance to have a great year We will see what happens. I am excited about this group and how hard we fought to try to win this game." – Head Coach Barclay Radebaugh.