CSU road swing continues at Western Carolina
Charleston Southern looks return to the win column Wednesday night when it travels to Cullowhee, N.C. to meet Western Carolina. Tipoff at the Ramsey Center is scheduled for 7 p.m.
CSU (3-5) enters off a 59-45 loss at Alabama on Saturday. The Bucs performed well defensively and were active in their matchup zone in limiting the Crimson Tide to season lows in points (59) and field goal percentage (34.9). Head coach Barclay Radebaugh's club also did a good job on the glass against a bigger Alabama team, as the Tide enjoyed only a 33-32 advantage on the glass while the Bucs' Paul Gombwer pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds.
Alabama's pressure defense stymied CSU's potent offense, though, as the Bucs shot only 32.6 percent from the floor and made only 4-of-17 attempts from three-point range. Despite its shooting struggles, CSU led by as many as eight in the first half and was still within a point following a Saah 3-pointer at the 11:20 mark of the second stanza.
The matchup with Alabama was the latest in what has been a rigorous pre-conference schedule for CSU. The Bucs' Division I games have come against two nationally ranked teams (New Mexico and Baylor), an SEC foe in Alabama, and three CAA teams (Delaware twice and UNC Wilmington). Radebaugh and the Bucs now take on a Western Carolina (5-6) squad expected to be near the top of the Southern Conference this season. The Catamounts received a first place vote and were picked third in the SoCon's preseason poll.
"It's another challenge for us," Radebaugh said of the matchup. "They're a good basketball team that was picked near the top of the SoCon so it will be a tough game for us on the road. We did some good things against Alabama and the key for us right now is to keep improving everyday and maintain our confidence as we continue to get ready for Big South play."
Western Carolina is currently 5-6 as it heads to Ohio to play at Cleveland State tonight. The Catamounts have already played three Big South teams this season, registering wins over UNC Asheville and Liberty before falling at Coastal Carolina on December 4.
WCU is led by head coach Larry Hunter, who has one of the top players in the SoCon in redshirt senior guard Trey Sumler. Sumler averaged 18.4 points a game last year en route to picking up All-Southern Conference accolades, and is proving to be a prolific scorer once again this season. He leads WCU with 17.4 points a game and has also handed out 40 assists against only 20 turnovers.
Tom Tankelewicz connected on 80 three-pointers at a 39 percent clip last year, and is currently 25 of 64 from long range this season. Senior Brandon Boggs rounds out the three-guard alignment for WCU and is its other double figures scorer, averaging 10.4 points per game while leading the club with 17 steals.
Wednesday's game against WCU is the middle leg of a three-game road trip that concludes at Central Arkansas on Saturday afternoon. The Bucs recorded six road victories on their way to claiming the Big South regular season championship last season, and have already picked up an impressive road triumph over Delaware this year.