Charleston Southern head coach Barclay Radebaugh was hopeful a week break from game action would be beneficial for his team entering Saturday's home matchup with Winthrop. The Bucs had lost two straight and were looking to regroup before embarking on a three-game in seven days road trip. CSU did just that on Saturday night at Buccaneer Fieldhouse, dominating Winthrop, 84-64, behind a game-high 17 points from junior Arlon Harper.
Harper paced five players in double figures for CSU (11-13, 5-6 Big South), as the Bucs shot 57 percent from the field and avenged an 85-68 loss to Winthrop on Jan. 11 in Rock Hill. Winthrop hit 15 three-pointers and shot 52 percent from the floor in that game, but CSU stepped up its defensive effort in the rematch. The Eagles converted 10-of-23 attempts from three-point range but shot just 36.5 percent overall and could never generate a rhythm against an active CSU man-to-man defense.
"I just felt overall, we played very well and it was a quality win against a really good team," Radebaugh said. "I thought offensively we were efficient, defensively we were solid and it was just a really good team win. With our athleticism and size, we should be capable of playing defense like that every night."
CSU led 43-31 at halftime and put the game away early in the second half after Winthrop (14-11, 7-5 BSC) scored five straight points to crawl within seven. Harper snuffed out any thoughts of a comeback, as he spearheaded an 8-0 spurt to give CSU a 15-point lead. He first buried a deep three late in the shot clock and then came up with a steal and raced coast to coast for a layup on the following possession. Following a defensive stop, Harper drove the baseline and found Sheldon Strickland for a corner three and a 51-36 CSU lead. The Bucs' lead, which climbed to as much as 23 late, never dipped below 10 the rest of the way.
Strickland and Matt Kennedy each scored 14 points for CSU, while Cedrick Bowen and Saah Nimley chipped in 12 and 11. Freshman Ty'Quan Bitting gave Radebaugh and company a spark off the bench, posting eight points, five rebounds and three blocked shots.
CSU starts its three-game road trip on Monday at High Point. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.