MBB PREVIEW: Buccaneers prepare for Friday evening semifinal bout against No. 2 Radford

MBB PREVIEW: Buccaneers prepare for Friday evening semifinal bout against No. 2 Radford

Charleston, S.C. - No. 6 Charleston Southern looks to continue its tournament run on Friday evening in Gore Arena as the Buccaneers take on No. 2 Radford in the Big South Championships semifinal round. Tipoff for the third matchup of 2019 between the Bucs and the Highlanders is set for 6 p.m.

CSU MBB Game Notes - vs. Radford

The winner of the game will face the winner of the No. 1 Campbell/No. 4 Gardner-Webb game on Sunday, March 10, in the 2019 Big South Men's Basketball Championship Game. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. on ESPN. The game will be hosted at the highest seed remaining on Sunday.

The Bucs (17-14) advanced through the first two rounds of the tournament courtesy of a 71-52 win over No. 11 USC Upstate on Tuesday, and a 77-63 win over No. 3 Winthrop yesterday afternoon. Christian Keeling has powered the Bucs through the first two rounds of the tournament with a team-best 23.5 points per game on 60.0% shooting from the floor. He's shooting 58.3% from the three-point line over the two games to pace the Bucs.

Radford (21-10) advanced to the semifinal round by virtue of the Highlanders' 86-78 win over No. 7 Presbyterian in the first game of the day on Thursday afternoon. The Highlanders were led by Ed Polite Jr.'s 21-point, nine-rebound game in the win over PC.

Game Quick Hits

- Charleston Southern advances back to the semifinal round for the first time since the 2013 season as the Buccaneers prepare to take on No. 2 Radford on Friday evening.

- The Buccaneers advanced to the semifinal round for the 15th time in program history.

- CSU's matchup against Radford marks the fifth matchup against the Highlanders in the semifinal round dating back to the 1987 season.

- The Bucs picked up their first win in the semifinals against Radford in 1987 when the No. 1 Bucs topped No. 4 Radford, 91-79.

- The Bucs are 7-7 all-time in the semifinal round.

- Dontrell Shuler (pictured left) and Christian Keeling were recognized among the conference's award winners on Monday evening with Keeling earning First Team and All-Academic recognition, while Shuler garnered an All-Freshman nod.

- The Bucs split the season series with Radford with both teams winning their home contest in the 2018-19 regular season.

- Radford took the opener in the Dedmon Center, 86-78, back on January 24.

- CSU won the rematch against the Highlanders on February 16, 53-52.

- For the second consecutive season, CSU ended the regular season on a hot streak as the Bucs recorded wins in eight of their last 11 games.

- CSU is the No. 6 seed for the third time in program history.

Bucs in the Semifinals
Charleston Southern is 7-7 all-time when advancing into the semifinal round of the Big South Championships. The last time the Bucs were among the final four teams playing was the 2013 season when CSU advanced to the championship game against Liberty.

The Bucs' most common opponent in the semifinal round is Radford with CSU posting a 2-2 overall record against the Highlanders.

Bucs vs. Current Big South Field in Semifinal Round
Radford 2-2, L1 - 2001
UNC Asheville 2-1, L1 - 2012
Winthrop 0-2, L2 - 2000
High Point 1-0, W1 - 2005
Last Semifinal Appearance - 2013

Projecting Potential Semifinal Matchups
Based on the above, Charleston Southern is 2-2 against their semifinal opponent. The Bucs have faced Radford four times dating back to the 1987 season.

CSU vs. Radford in Semifinals
No. 1 CSU 91, No. 4 Radford 79 - 1987
No. 3 Radford 91, No. 2 CSU 82 (OT) - 1988
No. 4 CSU 88, No. 1 Radford 83 -  1992
No. 1 Radford 65, No. 5 CSU 62 - 2001

This Season Against Radford
January 24, 2019 - Radford, Va. - Dedmon Center
Radford 86, Charleston Southern 78

Radford took control midway through the second half and held off the visiting Buccaneers in the Dedmon Center, 86-78.

Charleston Southern shot 70.4% from the floor in the first half in holding the seven-point advantage at the break. The Buccaneers were hampered by second-half turnovers with the Highlanders scoring 14 points off eight CSU miscues in guiding the comeback.

February 16, 2019 - Charleston, S.C. - Buc Dome
Charleston 53, Radford 52

Dontrell Shuler hit a pair of free throws with 18 seconds remaining to help propel Charleston Southern past Radford at the Buccaneer Field House, 53-52.

Shuler continued his strong defensive play late in game as the freshman came up with a key blocked shot on a driving layup by Carlik Jones with 30 seconds remaining to swing possession back to the Buccaneers. CSU's defense stood strong with Radford scoring only Polite's free throw over the final 7:15 of the game.

Shuler's number was called on CSU's final offensive possession of the game and the freshman guard was fouled and sent to the line. He calmly converted both attempts and provided key defense on the final Radford defensive possession in CSU's one-point win.