CSU rolls past Presbyterian; stays tied for 1st in Big South race
CHARLESTON, SC - Charleston Southern ripped off a 20-4 run early in the second half and rolled to a 75-49 win over Presbyterian at the Buc Dome on Wednesday. The Bucs held onto a share of first place in the Big South Conference behind another monumental effort from Saah Nimley. Nimley tallied 25 of his 34 points after halftime and matched a CSU single-game program record with eight three-pointers.
CSU (17-9, 11-4 Big South) turned in a stellar defensive showing as well, limiting Presbyterian (9-19, 5-10 Big South) to 36 percent shooting. The Bucs frustrated PC leading scorers Jordan Downing and DeSean Murray into a combined 18 points on 7-of-21 shooting.
CSU and High Point remain tied atop the league standings with three games remaining in the regular season. The Bucs will go for their fifth straight win Saturday at Campbell.
Nimley's sixth 30-point outing of the year led the way as CSU secured its fourth straight season sweep of PC. He scored 11 points during the pivotal 20-4 spurt that swung the game for good. In the process, he took over sole ownership of third-place on Charleston Southern's career scoring list. Nimley moved past Brett Larrick (1993-97) and now has 1,740 career points.
"Our guys were really focused in the second half," CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh said afterward. "Our first half we were a little shaky. We didn't play up to our full potential. But in the second half, we were focused. We won that game on the defensive end. Cedrick and Paul did a terrific job on Murray. Aaron did a great job on Downing. He kept running off all of those screens and did so without ever coming out for some rest. When you make that many shots and double digit threes, you are tough to beat."
Arlon Harper added 11 points and four steals, and is now just eight steals from tying former Buc Kelvin Martin for 10th most in Big South history. Will Saunders and Paul Gombwer each grabbed a game-high eight rebounds to pace CSU to a 39-30 advantage on the glass.
PC trailed just 30-23 following a methodically played first half. The Blue Hose forced seven CSU turnovers in the opening stanza and kept the game manageable early in the second half, closing to within 33-29 on Davon Bell's three with 18:01 remaining. Nimley hit one of his six second half treys on the Bucs' following possession, though, jumpstarting a dominant second half.
Nimley sailed through two more threes during the 20-4 run, and Cedrick Bowen provided another highlight with a two-handed dunk put back. Nimley went past the 30-point plateau with a triple to move CSU ahead by 25 at the 3:59 mark, and connected on another for a 70-44 advantage just 44 seconds later.
"We've got to come out locked in for both halves (going forward)," Radebaugh said. "These guys have played tough. They have basically been playing tournament games these last two weeks with how the schedule has fared. It's not easy. They haven't flinched, though. They've gotten to the center of the ring each time out and I know they'll keep doing that."