Bucs crush Presbyterian
Charleston Southern shot 62 percent in the first half and made ten three-pointers to build a 26-point halftime lead and cruise to a 95-58 win over Presbyterian at the Buc Dome on Wednesday night.
CSU (8-8, 2-1 BSC) regrouped following its loss at Winthrop to post a convincing victory over PC (4-14, 0-3 BSC). The Bucs led by double figures for the entire game following an Arlon Harper jumper with 12:34 left in the first half.
Senior Matt Kennedy paced CSU with 21 points, highlighted by three first half threes as the Bucs connected on 10-of-19 from beyond the arc to take a 52-26 halftime lead. Junior point guard Saah Nimley posted one of his most efficient efforts of the season, hitting for 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting while also distributing five assists.
"We played really well offensively in the first half," CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh said after moving to within seven wins of becoming the program's all-time winningest coach. "Just a great effort by our guys, and a great bounce back game. We knew we were better than the way we played against Winthrop. We certainly played up to our abilities in the first half and we've got to continue to grow, fight to get better, and prepare for our next game."
PC was led by junior center William Truss' 18 points and eight rebounds, while Danny Herrera chipped in 14. The Bucs frustrated the Big South's second leading scorer in Jordan Downing, limiting him to only six points on 3-of-12 shooting.
"Arlon Harper did a great job on [Jordan Downing] tonight," Radebaugh said. "He really sacrificed his game for the good of the team and was terrific defensively. We knew Downing could get his points so to be able to hold him to 3-for-12 is what we were hoping for."
Nimley tallied 12 points and four assists in the first half alone, playing the role of catalyst by sailing through consecutive threes to give the Bucs a 40-18 lead at the 6:03 mark of the opening stanza.
"Saah was terrific tonight," Radebaugh said. "I think Coach (BJ) McKie had a pretty good talk with him yesterday. He just told him to relax and be Saah Nimley. Just being Saah Nimley is good enough. We love Saah and we wouldn't trade him for any point guard in our league. He is certainly a terrific player and he played well tonight."
Jordan Downing gave PC their final lead of the first half at 8-7 on a short jumper at the 17:13 mark, but Harper followed on the next CSU trip down the court with a three from the left wing as the Buccaneers took the 10-8 advantage.
The Harper triple jumpstarted the CSU offense as Kennedy followed with a triple and the Bucs went on a 13-2 run capped by a three-pointer by Will Saunders. The Saunders three-pointer from the left wing put the Bucs ahead 20-10 with 13:04 remaining and the Bucs weren't done yet as they continued to increase their advantage.
The Bucs' defense also clamped down on the Blue Hose offense, holding Presbyterian scoreless for a nearly four minute stretch as the Charleston Southern lead stretched to 40-18 with 6:03 remaining. Nimley connected on back-to-back threes to cap off the 10-2 run, and the Bucs' lead then grew to 50-24 on a Kennedy three.
Markus Terry put in the final basket of the half for the Blue Hose with a driving layup, before Bowen put the exclamation point on the half with a tip-in as Charleston Southern went into the locker room sporting the 52-26 edge.
CSU returns to action on Saturday when it hosts UNC Asheville inside the Buc Dome at 5:30 p.m.
"UNC Asheville will be a terrific challenge," Radebaugh said. "They are one of the hottest teams in our league, if not the hottest team in our league. They have a terrific team and we'll have to be ready for them Saturday night."