GARD.-webb 80, CSU 77
For the second time in three days, the Charleston Southern men's basketball team battled hard to the end, only to come up short.
CSU let a late three-point lead slip away in the final minutes and dropped an 80-77 decision to Gardner-Webb in Big South play in Boiling Springs, N.C., on Tuesday night.
CSU lost by the same score, in overtime, to Coastal Carolina on Saturday. And the Bucs had a three-point lead in overtime in that game.
"Every team hits a bump in the road during each season, and this is our bump," said Bucs coach Barclay Radebaugh. "How this basketball team responds will shape the rest of our season. "
Freshman guard Arlon Harper led CSU's effort with 18 points and a career-high five steals. Junior forward Kelvin Martin added 17 points and eight boards while freshman Saah Nimley and sophomore Sheldon Strickland scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Gardner-Webb shot 53 percent from the field and converted 16 of 19 opportunities at the free throw line in the game.
Forward Stefon Johnson scored 17 points with 10 rebounds to pace Gardner-Webb. Guard Max Landis added 16 points for the Bulldogs.
CSU trailed for most of the game, constantly forced to battle back from deficits as large as 10 points in the second half.
CSU used a 6-0 run to take its first lead of the second half at 65-64 with 7:31 to play and the final minutes remained close.
Saah Nimley's 3-pointer with 5:43 to play gave the Bucs a 70-68 lead but the Bulldogs scored five straight to take a 73-70 lead with 3:49 remaining.
Mathiang Muo tied the game at 73 with a 3-pointer with 2:54 to play and Strickland added a layup with 2:19 left for a 75-73 lead.
Martin hit two free throws with 1:19 left to give CSU a 77-74 lead but the Bucs failed to score again. Gardner-Webb (9-9, 4-2) closed the game with six straight points.
"We had our chances, battled back several times to give ourselves a chance to win," said Radebaugh. "We just didn't finish well down the stretch. Give credit to Gardner-Webb for doing a good job late. They shot better and they rebounded better than we did."
CSU returns home to face Presbyterian on Thursday.
3-Point Goals -- CSU 9-21 (Harper 4-6, Muo 3-6, Strickland 1-2, Nimley 1-6, Sexton 0-1); GWU 8-17 (Landis 4-9, Dawson 2-4, Strange 1-1, Hartley 1-2, Buggs 0-1). Steals -- CSU 12 (Harper 5); GWU 5 (Strange 3). Blocks -- CSU 0; GWU 7 (Newsome 3, Byron 3). Turnovers -- CSU 10 (Gombwer 2, Nimley 2); GWU 19 (Harper 4). Technicals -- None. A--1,460.