For the second straight game, the Charleston Southern Buccaneers blew a second-half 12-point lead in falling at Hampton, 94-82, in Big South Conference action on Thursday night.
CSU falls to 0-2 in Big South play and 6-9 overall after seeing nearly 30 minutes of solid work evaporate into a bad road loss.
Hampton, playing their first conference game as a member of the Big South, improved to 6-8 overall this season.
The Pirates shot a sizzling 66 percent from the floor in the second half and rarely missed over the final 10 minutes of the contest. Guard Jermaine Marrow, the nation’s sixth-leading scorer at better than 25 points per game, torched the Bucs for 35 points.
Trevond Barnes added 21 and Kalin Fisher posted 16 points for the Pirates, who finished at 55.6 percent from the field for the game.
Sophomore wing Phlandrous Fleming led CSU with a 23-point, 12 rebound effort. Junior guard Christian Keeling added 18 points before fouling out late in the contest. Keeling went over 1,300 career points in the loss, moving into 10th-place on the school’s all-time scoring list.
The Buccaneers finished at 40.3 percent shooting but only shot 34.4 percent in the second half. The Bucs were nine-of-33 from beyond the arc but held a 44-33 edge in rebounding.
CSU trailed 17-7 early in the game but used a 34-16 run to claim a 41-33 lead with less than four minutes remaining in the first half.
“The first half was one of our better offensive halves of the season,” CSU coach Barclay Radebaugh said. “We played well as a team, moved the ball, passed the ball and had very few turnovers.
“The second half was the exact opposite. We turned the ball over and we stopped playing team basketball. Against a team like Hampton, you can’t take bad, quick shots and you can’t be careless with the basketball. We did both in the second half.”
After taking a 48-40 halftime lead, back-to-back 3-pointers from Keeling and Deontaye Buskey pushed CSU’s lead to 54-42 early in the second half.
The Buccaneers maintained a 70-63 lead with 10:31 remaining in the game before the wheels fell off. The Pirates tied the game at 70 on a Marrow trey and took a 73-70 lead on a Barnes three-pointer. CSU would not lead again as the margin ballooned to 16 at 90-74 with under two minutes to play. Hampton out-scored CSU, 31-12, over the final 10 minutes of the contest.
“It’s a great learning experience for a young team,” Radebaugh said. “We have seven new guys and seven total years of college basketball experience. We will learn from our mistakes and continue to improve.”
CSU will stay on the road for a Saturday conference game at Longwood. Tip-off is at 3 p.m.