Coaches tinker with their lineups all of the time. For Charleston Southern men’s basketball coach Barclay Radebaugh, a recent change in how he handles his personnel has paid big dividends.
Radebaugh made two key moves recently, moving sophomore forward Ty Jones into the starting lineup while taking the team’s best player and leading scorer Christian Keeling out the starting lineup. Jones has started the last six games and is averaging 11.8 points in those outings while shooting 57.8 percent from the field.
Keeling has come of the bench in the last five games and is averaging 19.6 points per game while still leading the team in scoring at better than 18 points per contest.
Both players were instrumental in CSU’s 85-75 road conference win at UNC Asheville on Saturday. Keeling poured in 27 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Jones added 18 points and seven boards. The duo combined to make 15 of 20 shots from the field.
“Really proud of Christian and his attitude and willingness to do whatever it takes for his team to win,” Radebaugh said on Saturday. “He has been really good in his play while also being an excellent leader on our team. He made some big shots today.”
Jones, who played only 10 minutes in Thursday’s loss to Winthrop due to a medical issue, also contributed five assists out of the post.
“He’s a definite matchup problem because he can play the five or the four, can make mid-range shots and is a great passer,” Radebaugh said. “He’s a force and has played very well of late.”
The play of both has pushed CSU to a 5-5 record in the Big South Conference. The Bucs have won four of their last five in league play and improved to 11-12 overall this season.
CSU trailed Asheville (3-22, 1-10) early in the second half before Keeling and Jones took over. The Bucs shot 69.2 percent from the floor in the second half and scored 52 points. Keeling scored 21 points, and Jones added 13 in the second half.
Sophomore wing Phlandrous Fleming added 14 points and freshman guard Dontrell Shuler added 12 for CSU. Fleming and Shuler also are part of the lineup changes. Fleming, who missed the first 12 games of the season with an injury, started six straight games before coming off the bench in the last five games.
Shuler came off the bench for most of the season but has started the last seven games, averaging 12.2 points since becoming a starter.
“I love the way this team is coming together, and I am excited to see us improving each game,” Radebaugh said. “We have won four of five, but we haven’t played our best basketball yet.”
CSU will play at Gardner-Webb on Thursday before a home matchup with Big South leader Radford next Saturday.