CHARLESTON, S.C. - No. 6 Charleston Southern never trailed as the Buccaneers topped No. 3 Winthrop in the quarterfinal round of the Big South Men's Basketball Championships, 77-63.
The Bucs (17-14) led at the halftime break, 38-32, and went up by as many as 15 in the second half on their way to picking up their first win of the season over the Eagles. Winthrop (18-12) swept the regular season over the Buccaneers, but CSU did not allow the Winthrop shooters to get comfortable in the game as the Bucs limited WU to 33.9% shooting from the floor and 30.0% from behind the arc.
Christian Keeling continues to impress as the junior guard finished with a game-high 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting. He was 5-of-9 from behind the arc and added seven rebounds in 37 minutes.
Dontrell Shuler added the second 20-point scoring effort of his collegiate career to join Keeling with 22 points. Phlandrous Fleming added 16 points and five rebounds, while Travis McConico stuffed the statistics sheet with 11 points, eight rebounds, six assists, and four steals.
Bjorn Broman led the Eagles with 18 points and hit five of Winthrop's nine three-pointers in the game. Nych Smith added 14 points, while Micheal Anumba had 10 for the Eagles in the loss.
How It Happened
- Christian Keeling set the pace early in the game with a three-pointer as CSU went up 10-4 with 16:13 left in the first half.
- Winthrop responded with back-to-back three's from Broman and Charles Falden to set up the game's lone tie at 10-10 with 14:14 to play.
- The Bucs kept a steady lead the remainder of the first half with Winthrop narrowing the margin to one point on two separate occasions before a late CSU run.
- The Bucs went up nine at 32-23 following another Keeling three-pointer for CSU's largest lead of the half.
- Dontrell Shuler added a three-pointer with 53 seconds to play in the first half to stretch the lead back to nine, before Broman answered on the other end to send the game into the break with CSU leading 38-32.
- CSU continued to push the pace of play in the second half as Keeling (layup) and Fleming (three-pointer) stretched the Bucs lead out to double-digits at 47-37 with 16:45 to play in the game.
- The lead hovered around double-digits with a McConico pump-fake and then three-pointer at the 9:01 mark putting CSU ahead 65-50.
- Winthrop cut the CSU lead down to seven at 68-61 following personal 8-2 from the Eagles' Broman to narrow the gap with 5:19 to play.
- Shuler and Keeling answered on the other end and the Bucs held Winthrop scoreless from the field over the final 5:19 of the game to pick up their second postseason win.
News & Notes
- The Bucs pick up their second Big South Quarterfinal win over Winthrop in program history after previously topping the Eagles in the 2013 Big South Championships, 54-47.
- CSU advances to the semifinals for the first time since the 2013 season following the win.
- The Bucs improved to 2-7 all-time against Winthrop in the postseason.
- CSU is 2-2 all-time in the semifinals against No. 2 Radford with the Highlanders winning the last matchup back in 2001.
- Charleston Southern limited Winthrop to 34.5% shooting in the first half and the Eagles to just 3-of-12 from the three-point line.
- The Bucs also utilized eight steals and forced 10 Winthrop turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
- Keeling and Shuler's 20-point games marked the second time in the last three games CSU has had two players achieve the scoring mark – Keeling (25) and Fleming (20) both broached the mark in the regular season finale against Presbyterian on March 2.
- The Bucs defense stood strong as CSU recorded its seventh consecutive game holding the opposition under 40.0% shooting from the field.
- The Bucs shot over 50.0% from the three-point line (12-of-23) for just the third time this season.