Before a sold-out home crowd at the CSU Field House, Charleston Southern won its third straight game with a 75-63 Big South Conference victory over Winthrop on Wednesday night.
Mathiang Muo scored 19 points and Paul Gombwer scored 13 points, hitting a career-high three 3-pointers, for the Buccaneers (7-6, 2-0 Big South). Arlon Harper scored 12 points, Cedrick Bowen added 11 and Jeremy Sexton 10. Saah Nimley dished out 10 assists, his second consecutive game in double-figure assists. CSU, for the game, had 18 assists and only four turnovers.
“I congratulate our guys for their effort and their energy tonight,” said CSU coach Barclay Radebaugh. “We withstood a strong effort from Winthrop. We were able to make a few runs and pull away, but my concern with this team is we tend to rely on those runs. We have great spurtability, but we cannot always rely on that in these types of games.”
Charleston Southern entered Wednesday’s game ranked third nationally with nine made 3-pointers per game. After making only four of 16 shots from behind the arc in the first half, the Buccaneers lit up the Eagles (6-8, 0-2) for six long-range shots in the second-half.
CSU shot 59.1 percent from the field in the second half and won the battle of the boards, 34-28.
“We came out very focused and confident in the second half,” said Muo, who has scored 34 points in two league games. “We felt like we took their best shot in the first half, and we knew if we executed, we had a chance to pull away.”
CSU broke open a close first half with a 15-4 run to take a 35-27 lead at the break. Winthrop, however, opened the second half with an 18-8 run and held a 45-43 lead with 13:29 remaining in the game.
Charleston Southern got hot from beyond the arc, connecting on three straight bombs, two by Gombwer, in an 11-3 run to grab a 54-46 lead with 10:41 to play. Winthrop’s attempts to get closer were futile as the Buccaneers continued to shoot well, opening up a 70-57 lead with 3:56 remaining.
Smith hit a 3-pointer with 1:52 to play to pull Winthrop to within 72-62, but that would be as close as the Eagles would get.
“Any win in league play, regardless of whose name is on the other jersey, is a big win,” said Radebaugh. “It’s nice to beat Winthrop, a quality program in our league. Our guys were ready to play.”
Charleston Southern is next at Longwood on Saturday.
“We’ll enjoy this win for about 15 minutes and turn our focus to another road conference game,” said Radebaugh.