Defense fuels Bucs

Charleston Southern's Cedrick Bowen and Rueben King block the shot of Longwood's Quincy Taylor during the Bucs' 68-54 win Saturday night.

Charleston Southern got a much-needed victory on Saturday, knocking off Longwood, 68-54, in Big South Conference action at the CSU Fieldhouse.

The Buccaneers (8-7, 2-2) were playing their fourth game in eight days, with two games on the road against league favorites Coastal Carolina and High Point.

"We're very thankful for the win," said CSU coach Barclay Radebaugh. "It has been a really tough stretch, playing four games in eight games. It's important to win at home. It's important to win as many as we can. It was a game we needed to win and I thought we did some really good things as a team today."

Senior point guard Saah Nimley had his fourth consecutive solid outing in league play, scoring 18 points and dishing eight assists. Cedrick Bowen and Will Saunders added 14 points while Arlon Harper scored 13 points. Nimley moved closer to the school's all-time assists record, needing 17 to move into the number one spot.

CSU won the battle of the boards, 41-29, led by Paul Gombwer's 11 rebounds.

Longwood opened the game hot from the field, hitting three 3-pointers in the first seven minutes. The teams were tied at 14 with 13:30 to play, but the Buccaneers took control with a 22-7 run late in the half, grabbing a 36-21 lead with 4:30 to go.

Longwood made only two of its last 13 shots and CSU closed the first half on an 8-0 run to take a 48-29 halftime lead.

Charleston Southern shot 61.5 percent in the first half with Saunders scoring 14 points, making all five of his field goal attempts. Nimley added 10 points and seven assists in the opening frame. Longwood shot 30 percent in the first half, with seven of their nine field goals coming from beyond the arc.

"We probably played our best 28 or 30 minutes of the season with the first half and the start of the second half," said Radebaugh. "In all fairness to our guys, it was our fourth game in eight days and we were literally exhausted in those last 10 minutes. I am really proud of our team. It was a very courageous effort by our team."

Nimley opened the second half with a pair of 3-pointers and CSU led, 56-29, less than four minutes into the half.

The Lancers, however, put together an 11-0 run as CSU missed six consecutive shots and committed four turnovers. CSU's lead shrunk to 56-40 with 12:43 remaining in the game, but Nimley found Bowen on a breakaway dunk to snap the skid, giving CSU a 58-40 lead with 11:35 to play.

Longwood (5-12, 1-3) got as close as 12 late, but CSU managed a double-digit lead throughout the second half. CSU shot only 27 percent from the floor in the second half, finishing at 44 percent for the game.

Radebaugh was especially pleased with his team's defensive effort. Longwood came into the game averaging 74 points in three conference outings and shooting 44 percent from the field as a team.

CSU held the Lancers to 32.7 percent shooting on Saturday.

"We made some adjustments and the guys responded very well," said Radebaugh. "We took some charges, got in the gaps and deflected balls. We played with a lot of effort on the defensive end of the floor."

Quincy Taylor led Longwood with 14 points, with Leron Fisher adding 12 and Shaquille Johnson 10.

CSU hosts Liberty on Wednesday in Big South action.