Charleston Southern improves to 3-0 in Big South with win over Longwood
Sophomore guard Saah Nimley continued his recent string of stellar play, leading Charleston Southern to a 75-62 Big South Conference victory over Longwood on Saturday afternoon in Farmville, Va.
Nimley scored a game-high 22 points to go with eight rebounds, eight assists and four steals as the Buccaneers improved to 3-0 in Big South play and 8-6 overall. CSU won for the seventh time in its last eight games since a 1-5 start.
Nimley is averaging 17.6 points and 7.9 assists per game over his last five games.
“I’ve run out of superlatives for the little guy,” said CSU coach Barclay Radebaugh of his 5-6 point guard. “I love him to death. He’s competitive and plays with a chip on his shoulder. I’m comfortable with him and he’s one of our leaders. We had some guys not have their best shooting days, but we did what we had to for the win. It wasn’t pretty, but I’ll take it.”
The Buccaneers won despite shooting only 38 percent from the floor, including a 6-for-25 effort from beyond the arc. However, CSU outrebounded Longwood, 44-38, and hauled in 18 offensive boards.
“We’re a jump-shooting team and we’re not going to shoot it great every night, that’s just basketball,” said Radebaugh. “We missed some layups and missed some wide-open shots, but that’s going to happen. We did defend and we did rebound and I’m very proud of that effort.”
Charleston Southern also got balanced scoring again. Guard Arlon Harper scored 18 points and sophomore forward Cedrick Bowen added 10 points and eight rebounds. Junior center Allie Fullah added eight points and three blocked shots, while senior guard Jeremy Sexton scored eight.
Longwood (3-14, 0-3), in its first season as a member of the Big South, was led by Michael Kessens’ 21 points. Longwood shot only 36 percent from the field for the game.
“We take every game seriously and we don’t even look at the records of the teams we play,” said Fullah. “We try to play every game with the same focus and intensity and we know we have to play well to win.”
Longwood took an early 6-2 lead, but Harper’s two free throws with 16:42 to play gave CSU a 7-6 lead. The Buccaneers would never trail again, opening up a double-digit lead midway through the first half en route to a 40-28 halftime advantage.
Nimley’s 3-pointer with 16:20 left opened up a 52-34 advantage, but Longwood cut the margin to 12 at 54-42. Sexton hit a pair of 3-pointers and Harper added another to push the margin back to 19 at 65-46 with 7:58 remaining and the Bucs cruised to the double-digit victory.
CSU will host defending league champion UNC Asheville on Wednesday night, the first of two home conference games this week.