On a night when smaller schools knocked off major conference powers, Charleston Southern wanted to avoid the upset bug as the Buccaneers opened their home schedule against NAIA foe Bluefield College.
After opening up a 30-point second-half lead, the Buccaneers got sloppy during the latter stages of the game before earning an 88-64 victory.
Senior forward Kelvin Martin scored 18 points and pulled down 17 rebounds to pace the Buccaneers (1-2).
Four other players reached double figures, led by freshman guard Saah Nimley's 16 points and freshman forward Cedrick Bowen's 13.
"I thought we played great in the first half," said CSU coach Barclay Radebaugh. "But our young players found out in a hurry it's not always easy. We hit a lull on both ends of the floor and had to fight to get a win."
Charleston Southern shot 67 percent from the floor and used a smothering defense to open up a 52-25 halftime advantage. as the game appeared headed for blowout status.
The Bucs opened up a 62-32 lead with 15 minutes left before Bluefield got hot, making 8 of 10 shots during one stretch to cut the lead to 70-52 with 7:16 to play.
The Rams would get as close as 14 in the final six minutes, but the Buccaneers would go on a 14-2 run to close out the victory.
CSU shot only 39 percent in the second half and finished at 51.5 percent for the game.
Martin scored 11 of his 18 points in the final four minutes of the game.
"Our veterans, Kelvin and Sexton, picked us up and carried us down the stretch," said Radebaugh. "That's what we expect from our leaders. All in all, we learned a lot and we tasted victory. We're a young basketball team right now, but we show great potential. We're early on in the process and we feel we're going to get better and better."
Sophomore forward Byron Carpenter led the Rams with 24 points, while junior guard Kearsten Marion added 18, with 14 coming in the second half.
CSU will host NAIA Milligan College on Saturday night.
3-Point -- BC 4-12 (Shortridge 0-1, Marion 2-4, Wilson 1-5, Johnson 1-2); CSU 6-19 (Muo 0-1, Nimley 2-4, Sexton 1-5, Harper 1-4, Deter 2-3). Steals -- BC 9 (Marion 3); CSU 12 (Bowen 4). Blocks -- Blue 5 (Carpenter 3); CSU 5 (Martin 5). Turnovers -- Blue 22 (Carpenter 7); CSU 20 (Martin 7). Technicals -- None. A -- 795.