A sign of a maturing team is when that team takes care of business against an over-matched opponent, especially after said team is coming off a win over the league’s top team.
Charleston Southern’s men’s basketball team showed plenty of maturity, and lots of skill, in taking down visiting USC Upstate 92-60. The win moved the Buccaneers above .500 in Big South play at 7-6 and comes after a win over Radford on Saturday night.
It was the sixth win in the last eight games for the Bucs (13-13 overall).
“We had a really tough Monday. We weren’t very good on Monday or Tuesday,” CSU coach Barclay Radebaugh said. “We really refocused on Wednesday and talked about what our goals are for this year. Thankfully we didn’t play Monday or Tuesday. We have some good leaders. We have some guys who understand what it takes. Yesterday was a terrific practice. We probably have to learn to handle those things better but we’re getting better at it. I am thankful for the maturity that we had tonight after a good win over Radford on Saturday.”
Junior guard Christian Keeling paced four Bucs in double figures with 19 points, adding 13 rebounds and three assists. Sophomore wing Phlandrous Fleming scored 15 points and dished out four assists while sophomore Deontaye Buskey and freshman Dontrell Shuler each added 10 points.
CSU shot 46 percent in the opening half and held a 40-28 lead at the break. The Bucs blistered the nets at a 63.3 percent clip in the final 20 minutes, scoring 52 points and leading by as many as 36 points. The Bucs finished at 53.7 percent for the game while limiting the Spartans to 39 percent from the floor.
The Spartans (6-23, 1-13) got 24 points from Deion Holmes but had trouble containing the Buccaneers on the boards. CSU outrebounded the Spartans 47-25.
“I thought we played well,” Radebaugh said. “I think this team still has a lot to prove and this team needs to continue to play with a chip on its shoulder because we haven’t won anything yet.
“I thought our attitude and execution tonight was A-plus. We were extremely unselfish. The ball moved and it was exciting to see us play like that, so efficiently, and use all of our weapons. I think our team is rounding into shape at the right time of year. We need to continue to improve. I knew at some point this team would be good and can we get better than good is the challenge before the tournament.”
CSU will visit Winthrop on Saturday, looking to climb into the top five of the league standings before tournament time. The top five seeds receive a first-round bye. CSU lost to Winthrop 76-72 at home on Feb. 7. The Bucs are a game out of fifth place with three games remaining.