Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Charleston Southern knocked down 15 3-pointers on its way to the Big South Conference regular season title on Saturday night, besting rival Coastal Carolina 75-64 in front of a capacity crowd on Senior Night at CSU.
It's CSU's first regular season title in 26 years and it could also earn the conference's automatic bid to the NIT, should the Bucs not earn the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament by winning the Big South Tournament.
CSU finishes the regular 17-11 overall and 12-4 in Big South play, tying High Point for the best record in the regular season. The Bucs are in line for the NIT berth by virtue of a January win over the Panthers.
“It has been a great journey with a lot of people involved,” CSU coach Barclay Radebaugh said. “A lot of coaches, a lot of administrators have worked really hard. This is something we've been striving for. It was one of our goals to win the regular season and advance into postseason play, to be guaranteed a NIT bid at least. It's just an emotional day for us. The crowd was incredible. For one of the first times I’m at a loss for words.”
The Bucs will meet either Radford or Winthrop in Thursday's opening round of the Big South Tournament in Conway.
Coastal Carolina opened the game on an 11-0 run in the first five minutes.
CSU charged back to lead 15-14 on a 3-pointer from sophomore Saah Nimley. More 3-pointers gave CSU a 38-25 lead late in the first half. The Bucs hit eight 3-pointers from beyond the arc in the first half.
Nimley scored eight straight points in the second half, burying two 3-pointers and rolling in a layup while falling to the ground as CSU took a 53-36 lead with 14:47 to play.
Mathiang Muo, fittingly, went 5-for-9 from three-point range and had 17 points to lead the Bucs in his final home game. Nimley and Arlon Harper each added 15 points. Senior Jeremy Sexton finished with nine points and six rebounds.