Charleston Southern’s men’s basketball team has become one of the nation’s leaders in 3-point shooting, averaging more than nine makes per game. While coach Barclay Radebaugh knows full well his team’s identity, he has been clamoring for more production from the inside game all season.
In Tuesday night’s 72-54 thrashing of Presbyterian, the Buccaneers (15-9, 10-3 Big South) had one of their best games of the season in the paint.
Center Allie Fullah topped his career high with 11 points in the first half and finished with 13 points and six rebounds, while frontcourt mates Cedrick Bowen and Paul Gombwer combined for 16 points. Gombwer also had seven rebounds. Point guard Saah Nimley added 11 points and five assists.
Fullah’s performance marked the first time this season that a guard did not lead CSU in scoring. The team’s top scorers, Nimley and guard Arlon Harper, combined to make four field goal attempts in the game.
“It was a very interesting game because we never quite got the engine revved up tonight,” said Radebaugh. “We never really got into fourth gear. It felt so different. I respect our guys for gutting one out. Not every game is going to be pretty and I’m certainly not complaining about an 18-point win. They are all very hard to come by at this time of year. It just felt to me like we were laboring all night.”
Fullah scored CSU’s first points of the game on a dunk and CSU broke open the game early on. The Buccaneers trailed only once in the first half, 3-2, and cruised to a 43-25 halftime advantage.
“I wanted to come out more aggressive offensively tonight and just play hard,” said Fullah. “They (PC) collapsed on our guards and really tried to contain them and that left me open inside. I just tried to take advantage of what they were doing defensively.”
CSU made only three 3-pointers in the first half and finished with seven. The Bucs opened their largest lead of the game with 13:20 left when Bowen’s dunk gave CSU a 58-33 lead.
“PC attacked us differently on defense and those guys did a good job of making some buckets,” Radebaugh said. “It was nice to see our post players contribute in that way. I think it’s the next piece of us offensively, the ability to throw the ball inside and score.”
Presbyterian (9-21, 4-10) made its best run of the night late, cutting the lead to 14 at 63-49 with less than six minutes remaining. Mathiang Muo stopped the threat with a 3-pointer and CSU opened the margin back to as much as 19.
CSU maintained its lead in the Big South’s South Division standings. The Buccaneers will host VMI on Thursday night.
“We have one day to prepare for easily the hardest team to prepare for in our league,” said Radebaugh. “They do so many things offensively and defensively. It’s going to be very difficult, but everything is difficult from here on out.”