Ronald Reagan was President the last time UNC Wilmington paid a visit to the CSU Field House, and after picking up their first win of the season in overtime, the Seahawks might try to schedule more games at Charleston Southern.
Addison Spruill, who was one-for-nine this season from beyond the arc, hit two long, contested 3-pointers, one to send the game into overtime and the other, off the glass, to put his team ahead with 24 seconds left in overtime as the Seahawks beat the Buccaneers, 80-78, Wednesday night before a standing-room-only crowd.
“Certainly turnovers killed us,” said CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh of his team’s 19 turnovers, 12 coming in the second half. “Few teams can turn it over 19 times and expect to win. We had a good lead and turned it over a few times. Our late-game execution was poor and they took advantage of it.”
CSU senior Matt Kennedy scored a career-high 19 points and junior Will Saunders added 18, hitting six-of-10 shots from beyond the arc. Charleston Southern, however, had a rare cold-shooting night at home, hitting only 13-of-33 shots from three-point range and shooting 41 percent from the floor. The Bucs also missed 10 free throws.
“Frankly, I am surprised at our shooting tonight,” said Radebaugh. “We forced some shots in the first half and did some uncharacteristic things offensively. We tried at times to play too aggressively offensively and didn’t show a lot of patience.”
Forward Cedrick Williams paced the Seahawks with 26 points and eight rebounds, with guard Chris Dixon adding 10 points.
UNC Wilmington opened the season with losses at Iowa and Iowa State by a combined 78 points and appeared headed for a third straight defeat when Charleston Southern broke open a close game to take a 53-40 lead with 10:40 remaining.
But the Seahawks closed the game on a 27-14 run and held the Bucs without a field goal over the final 4:29 of regulation. Spruill’s first 3-pointer tied the game at 67 with four seconds remaining.
In the extra session, Kennedy’s three-pointer with 3:55 left gave CSU a 72-69 lead, but Tanner Milson pushed the Seahawks ahead, 76-75, with a three-pointer from the corner with 1:46 to play.
Saunders answered with a three a minute later for a 78-76 lead, setting the stage for Spruill’s eventual game-winning trey.
“With all of those mistakes, and with their four man hitting two long three-pointers, we had our chances,” said Radebaugh. “Our execution was not good enough to win tonight. We can certainly learn a lot from this and we will.”
Charleston Southern, seeking its first 3-0 start in more than 20 years, drops to 2-1 on the season and faces a pair of road games at New Mexico and Baylor over the next week.
“We fell one shot short tonight, but we’re a veteran team and we will bounce back,” said Kennedy, a graduate of West Ashley High School. “When you have a chance to knock a team out, you have to put them down. We had our opportunities tonight but we didn’t finish it.”