Bucs face So. Miss.; Cougars to CBI

Matt Silfer/Special to Post and Courier Paul Gombwer and Charleston Southern will play at Southern Miss in the opening round of the NIT on Wednesday night.

It’s been 16 years, but Charleston Southern’s men’s basketball team is finally going back to the postseason.

Charleston Southern goes on the road to take on Southern Mississippi on Wednesday night in the opening round of the National Invitation Tournament at 9:15 p.m. in Hattiesburg, Miss.

Meanwhile, College of Charleston will host George Mason on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at TD Arena in the opening round of the College Basketball Invitational.

This is only the second postseason appearance for the Bucs, who lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to UCLA, 109-75, in 1997.

“We’re so excited to be able to represent Charleston Southern and the Big South,” CSU coach Barclay Radebaugh said. “Southern Miss is an accomplished team. Donnie (Tyndall) is a terrific coach and they are a very well-coached team. They lost a heartbreaking game that would have put them in the NCAA tournament to Memphis on Saturday, and are well-deserving of a No. 1 seed in the NIT.”

The Bucs, who are the eighth seed in their NIT regional, are 19-11 and won the Big South regular season title.

The top-seeded Eagles (25-9) advanced to the Conference USA tournament final over the weekend, eventually losing to No. 20 Memphis, 91-79, in double-overtime.

The Eagles are led by guard Dwayne Davis, who averages 16.4 points a game, and Jerrold Brooks (10.6 ppg).

The Cougars (24-10) didn’t make the 32-team NIT field, but were selected to the CBI. It’s the fifth time that the Cougars and Patriots (18-14) have played each other, with the Cougars leading the series, 3-1. George Mason beat the Cougars, 84-76, in 2011 in their last matchup.

The winner of College of Charleston and George Mason will play the Texas-Houston winner on March 25.

“We are thrilled to be able to play in the postseason and especially have another game for our fans at TD Arena,” Wojcik said. “Looking at all of the teams that made the NIT field — Kentucky, Virginia, Alabama and Tennessee — we are fortunate to be playing in the CBI and are excited for the opportunity to continue our season.”

The Patriots are led by guards Sherrod Wright and Bryon Allen. Wright leads the team in scoring, averaging 16.5 points a game, while Allen averages 7.9 points and 3.5 assists a game.

“Don’t let George Mason’s record fool you, they’re a very good team,” Wojcik said. “They’ve lost some very close games. They easily could have four or five more wins.”