BUIES CREEK, N.C. - No. 6 Charleston Southern's run in the 2019 Big South Men's Basketball Championships came to an end in the semifinal round as the Buccaneers fell to No. 2 Radford, 63-54, on Friday night in Gore Arena.
The Buccaneers (17-15) finished the season winning 10 of their last 14 games and took control of the game in the first half building a double-digit lead at the break. Radford (22-10) steadily chipped away at the lead before a critical 14-0 run in the second half swung the momentum firmly back in the hand of the Highlanders.
CSU's loss likely ends the Buccaneers season, while Radford will advance to take on the winner of No. 1 Campbell/No. 4 Gardner-Webb on Sunday afternoon in the Big South Championship Game. The contest will be held at the higher seed remaining with tipoff set for 1 p.m. on ESPN.
Christian Keeling led the Bucs with 15 points and added five rebounds and a pair of blocked shots in the loss. Phlandrous Fleming sparked CSU's first half run and finished with 10 points and three assists.
Carlik Jones was key to Radford's second half surge in pacing all scorers with 21 points and eight rebounds. Travis Fields Jr. added 16 points and five assists, including a pair of crucial three-pointers in the Highlanders' win.
How It Happened
- After a scoreless two minutes to start the game, Timmy Sellers put the Bucs on the board with a layup at the 17:54 mark.
- CSU and the Highlanders traded baskets early with the teams knotting the score up three times – the final in the first half on a Caleb Tanner three-pointer with 13:25 remaining to put the score 9-9.
- Radford utilized the hot outside hand of Tanner to build a four-point advantage at 15-11 with 9:21 to play before the Bucs went to work.
- CSU went on a 14-0 run over the next six minutes sparked by a pair of Dontrell Shuler three-pointers to take the 25-15 lead.
- Phlandrous Fleming added a triple from the left corner before Keeling's three-pointer put CSU ahead by double-digits with 3:44 to play in the half.
- The Bucs went up by 11 on Ty Jones' layup with 1:36 to play before Fields Jr. converted a late free throw to put the margin at 29-19 CSU at the break.
- Keeling kept the Bucs' hot streak alive at the start of the second half as the junior guard connected on a three-pointer on the Bucs' opening possession to stretch the lead to 13.
- CSU's lead remained double-digits at 41-29 following a Keeling layup at the 14:53 mark before the Highlanders went to work.
- Radford went on a 14-0 run of their own with Tanner and Jones wrapping up the stretch with back-to-back three-pointers to put the Highlanders ahead 43-41 with 11:07 to play.
- Ty Jones put the Bucs back in the lead with a pair of 18-foot jumpers on back-to-back possessions to give CSU the 46-43 lead with 8:26 to play.
- Radford rallied back with seven consecutive points as Fields Jr. converted a three-pointer to give the Highlanders the lead for good with 6:06 remaining.
- The Bucs continued to battle back, but the shots did not fall down the stretch as Radford closed out the game with the final four points in the Radford 63-54 win.
News & Numbers
- Charleston Southern falls to 7-8 all-time in the Big South semifinal round.
- The Bucs fall to 2-3 all-time against the Highlanders in CSU's fifth matchup against Radford in the round.
- CSU fell to 1-2 against the Highlanders in the 2018-19 season with the Bucs' lone win in the series coming at home in the Buc Dome on February 16.
- The Bucs held Radford to a 24.1% field goal percentage in the first half and 30.0% from the three-point line over the first 20 minutes.
- Radford responded with a 53.3% shooting percentage, including a 54.5% mark from the three-point line in the second half.
- The Bucs finished the season holding eight consecutive opponents under 40.0% shooting.
- CSU's defense utilized 11 Radford turnovers and turned them into 20 points in the game.
- Christian Keeling (1,633) finished the season tied with Arlon Harper (2011-15) for fifth all-time in CSU's scoring ranks.
- Keeling's double-digit effort was his 31st of the season and 85th of his career.
- Phlandrous Fleming finished his sophomore campaign with 14 double-digit scoring efforts in 2018-19.
- Travis McConico, CSU's lone senior in 2018-19, finished his collegiate career hitting at least one three-pointer in each of his last 12 games.