After dropping a pair of road games over the weekend, Charleston Southern’s men’s basketball team opened its home schedule with a convincing 98-58 win over visiting Columbia International University on Wednesday night.
The win marked the 14th consecutive home opener victory for the Buccaneers, while head coach Barclay Radebaugh improved to 13-0 in home openers.
The Buccaneers lost at Davidson on Friday night and at North Carolina State on Sunday before Wednesday’s game. With two starting guards, Cortez Mitchell and Christian Keeling, sitting out a third game due to suspension, CSU coach Barclay Radebaugh continued to get a young team plenty of minutes.
“It was nice to play that game after the schedule we’ve had,” Radebaugh said. “It was great to see our guys play with the same energy and effort that we had against Davidson and N.C. State. I’m really proud of the way we came out, particularly early in the second half with our presses. I am really excited about these young guys, their passion and energy. We have tons to work on but today was a nice step forward.”
Junior forward Travis McConico, in his first season at CSU, scored 16 points and added nine rebounds. Freshman Ty Jones added 14 points and freshman wing Phlandrous Fleming added 11 points, along with senior forward Javis Howard.
CSU shot 52.9 percent from the floor for the game and out-rebounded the Rams, 41-31, with 16 offensive boards.
“I’m excited about this team,” Radebaugh said. “We’re going to be good. I don’t know when we’ll be good but this team has great passion and energy and they’re going to be good. We played Davidson on Friday and at our practice on Saturday, you would have thought we won the game. Nothing bothers this team. They move on to get better every day.”
CSU held a modest 14-9 advantage six minutes into the contest but quickly pulled away to a 34-13 lead with under six minutes to play in the first half. CSU shot 48.5 percent from the field on their way to a 50-26 halftime advantage.
The Bucs used a 25-0 run to in the second half to open up an 84-33 lead with eight minutes to play in the game. Sean Price’s dunk with 6:13 remaining gave CSU its largest lead at 90-35.
Radebaugh addressed the absence of Mitchell and Keeling, stating the pair were suspended for a violation of team policy. It is unclear when the pair will return to action.
“First of all, Christian and Cortez are really fine young men, but they broke a team policy,” Radebaugh said. “We’re going to live up to our team standard and team rules. The standard is something that cannot be broken. When it is broken, there are consequences. I don’t want anyone to read into this as a major deal. It’s a not a major deal. It’s just a holding of our standards as something very important to us.”
Columbia International dropped to 1-5 on the season. The Rams were led by Goose Creek grad Kameron Robinson, who scored 20 points. Another local product, Damian Hurta of St. John’s Christian Academy in Moncks Corner, scored five points and grabbed six boards.
Charleston Southern hits the road for a Saturday afternoon game at USC Upstate, which announced a move into the Big South Conference on Wednesday. The next home game will be Monday at noon against Toccoa Falls.