Buccaneers hold off late Florida Atlantic charge in CIT First Round win

Buccaneers hold off late Florida Atlantic charge in CIT First Round win
Phlandrous Fleming drives to the basket during Charleston Southern's 68-66 win over Florida Atlantic in CIT on Thursday. (Source: Charleston Southern Athletics)

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern held off a second-half Florida Atlantic charge as the Buccaneers topped the visiting Owls in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament on Thursday night in the Buc Dome, 68-66.

Christian Keeling appeared to put the game away with 3:40 to play as the junior guard recorded the steal at midcourt and went in for the dunk to bring the CSU crowd back to life as the Bucs (18-15) went ahead 66-58. The Owls (17-16) responded with an Anthony Adger three-pointer and a Xavian Stapleton breakaway dunk to narrow the Bucs lead to three points with 1:16 to play.

Phlandrous Fleming came up with a clutch layup on Travis McConico's assist with just under a minute to play to stretch the Bucs' lead back to five. A Stapleton three-pointer cut the CSU lead down to two on the ensuing possession.

Following a CSU missed free throw with 10 seconds remaining, Dontrell Shuler again showed why he is one of the best on-ball defenders in the country as the freshman forced Stapleton's game-winner wide to secure the Buccaneers' win.

Fleming and Shuler paced four Bucs in double-digits with 17 points apiece as CSU shot 50.8% from the floor in the win. Ty Jones (14) and Christian Keeling (12) added double-digit scoring efforts off the bench.

Adger led FAU's scoring efforts with 17 points from the floor, while Michael Forrest (15) and Stapleton (14) were also in double-digits in the loss.

How It Happened

  • Ty Jones, Phlandrous Fleming, and Dontrell Shuler combined to score 32 of CSU's 34 points in the first half as the Buccaneers took the four-point lead into the break.
  • Anthony Adger put the Owls ahead out of the gates with a three-pointer and Madiaw Niang hit a jumper as FAU went up 5-0 over the first 2:30 of the game.
  • The Bucs responded with a 9-0 run sparked by a Fleming jumper and a rare Jones three-pointer to go up with 16:02 remaining in the first half.
  • FAU took their last lead of the first half at 16-15 on a Forrest three-pointer with 12:20 left in the half to cap a 7-0 Owls run.
  • The Bucs quickly responded with 13 consecutive points – seven coming from Fleming in taking their largest lead of the game at 28-16.
  • FAU cut the CSU lead all the way down to two points with 40 seconds remaining on a Stapleton three-pointer to narrow the gap to 32-30.
  • Jones hit a pair of free throws just before the break to put CSU into the half leading 34-30.
  • Shuler hit the first two baskets of the second half to stretch the Bucs lead to 38-30 with 19:09 to play.
  • FAU responded with an 8-0 run to tie the game up on an Adger free throw with 16:28 to play at 38-38.
  • The teams tied up four times in the second half with the final coming at the 9:51 mark on a Forrest layup to knot the score at 51-51.
  • Travis McConico swung the lead back to the Bucs for good with a layup at the 8:54 mark.
  • The Bucs went up by as many as eight on Keeling's breakaway dunk at the 3:40 mark, before FAU's last-second comeback attempt fell short.

News & Notes

  • Charleston Southern held their ninth consecutive opponent below a 40.0% field goal percentage as the Bucs limited the Owls to 36.2% from the floor in the win.
  • CSU is 7-2 during the stretch when holding opponents under 40.0%.
  • Christian Keeling recorded his 32nd double-digit scoring game of the season and 86th of his career.
  • Dontrell Shuler was in double-digits for the 18th time this season, while Phlandrous Fleming was in double-digits for the 15th time.
  • The Bucs recorded the 37-30 rebounding advantage in the game with CSU also holding the 40-18 advantage on points in the paint.
  • CSU's bench was also particularly effective in the game with the 26-19 points advantage.
  • CSU's game against FAU was the Bucs first home postseason game in program history.
  • The Bucs win over the Owls was also CSU's first postseason win beyond the Big South Tournament.
  • CSU is one of three Big South teams to advance to the CIT's second round joining Presbyterian (W, 73-68 vs. Seattle) and Hampton (W, 81-72 vs. St. Francis Brooklyn).
  • Keeling moved into sole possession of fifth all-time in CSU's scoring rankings with 1,665 points, moving past CSU alum and current assistant coach Arlon Harper (1,633 – 2011-15).
  • The Bucs improved to 13-4 in the Buccaneer Field House this season.
  • CSU's starting lineup of Timmy Sellers, McConico, Buskey, Fleming, and Shuler was the 13th different starting lineup for the Bucs this year.

Coach's Comments

"We are so thankful to be a part of the postseason and to be a part of this tournament. It was a very exciting win for us. Thanks to our administration for allowing us to play this game at home. That's a big commitment to men's basketball. We are very thankful for this. I thought we played very well defensively. We weren't great offensively. We were good enough offensively but we were terrific defensively. Our guys have bought in defensively. When we play defense like we did tonight, we have a chance to win every game." – Head Coach Barclay Radebaugh

Up Next

Charleston Southern will await word from the CIT postseason committee on their second round opponent. Date and location are to be announced.