Bucs fall to Chants in finale

Provided Coastal Carolina Athletics Charleston Southern’s Wesley Johnson (11) attempts to block a shot during the Bucs’ loss to Coastal Carolina on Thursday night in Conway.

The regular season portion of Charleston Southern’s men’s basketball schedule came to an end on Thursday night as the Buccaneers dropped a 68-60 road game at Coastal Carolina in Conway.

The Buccaneers head into next week’s Big South Conference tournament having lost nine of their last 10 games and limp into the tournament at 9-20 overall and 5-13 in Big South play.

The record is CSU’s worst since finishing 9-20 during the 2008-09 season.

CSU’s first-round opponent is unknown until league play is completed, but the Buccaneers will play Thursday in a first-round game, needing to win four games in four days to advance to the NCAA Tournament.

“I could not be more proud of this team’s effort tonight,” Charleston Southern coach Barclay Radebaugh said. “We gave ourselves a great chance to win with a few minutes left in the game against a very good team on the road. We simply could not make enough shots.

“This team continues to amaze me. With very little success to show for it, this group comes out every day in practice and in every game and gives it their best effort. Tonight we played hard. We defended well enough to win. We just didn’t score enough.”

Junior Raemond Robinson connected on five 3-pointers to pace CSU with 17 points. Robinson has made 12 3-pointers during his last two games. Senior forward Aaron Wheeler added 13 points and nine rebounds.

Guard Shivaughn Wiggins led all scorers with 18 points while guard Jaylen Shaw scored all 10 of his points in the second half.

The Buccaneers led Coastal Carolina, 37-29, at halftime after a solid 50 percent shooting effort in the first half. However, CSU opened the second-half missing its first 10 shots, along with four turnovers, and did not score in the first 9:11 of the half.

By the time sophomore forward Wesley Johnson (nine points, eight rebounds) hit a free throw for CSU’s first points of the half, Coastal Carolina had taken a 43-37 lead. The lead reached as high as 11 points in the half as the Chanticleers out-scored CSU, 22-4, in the first 11-plus minutes.

The Buccaneers managed to right themselves over the next several minutes and Wheeler’s basket with 5:23 to play cut Coastal Carolina’s lead to 56-50. The teams exchanged 3-pointers before Patrick Wallace hit a lay-up to bring CSU to within 59-55 with 4:05 left to play.

Wiggins and Shaw, however, connected on 3-pointers to push the margin back to eight at 64-57 with 1:49 remaining in the game.

Charleston Southern finished the game at 40.4 percent shooting while Coastal Carolina shot 39.7 percent. CSU’s struggles at the free throw line continued as the Buccaneers made only six of 15 attempts.

“I’m very proud of Wesley Johnson, who played his best game as a collegian tonight,” Radebaugh said. “He has really come on the last two weeks and that’s encouraging to see for a sophomore.”