CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern's Arlon Harper had a career high 30 points, while Jeremy Sexton and Saah Nimley each added 20 as CSU rolled past The Citadel on Tuesday night, 101-73, on a record-filled night in Buccaneer Fieldhouse
CSU moves to 3-5 and heads into a two-week exam break on a win, while The Citadel falls to 3-4.
Harper ripped off a new career high, while Sexton became the 19th member of the Bucs' 1,000-point club, and Nimley matched a career high with 12 assists to go with 20 points in by far the Bucs' best offensive game of the season. The CSU guard trio overwhelmed The Citadel throughout the game and combined to knock down 12-of-20 three-point attempts.
Bucs' head coach Barclay Radebaugh has been waiting on his team to look like the team, especially at the guard spot, that was picked as a preseason favorite in the Big South.
"I think when we play like that we are going to be tough to beat for sure," Radebaugh said following the game. "We knew that games like Arizona and Alabama were going to prepare us for games like The Citadel and Big South games and tonight we were ready. I told our guys that a desperate team is a dangerous team. And I applaud our games because we played with a sense of urgency. We played with focus and we played with the confidence I knew we had."
Sexton joined the Charleston Southern 1,000-point club with his first shot of the second half and continued to score in his best offensive game of the season. He was 5-of-8 from three-point range.
Sexton entered the game needing 14 points to become the 19th CSU men's basketball player to join the 1,000 point club and the senior guard from Chattanooga, Tenn. wasted little time in hitting four of his first six shots from the floor before connecting on a three-pointer from the top of the key 16 seconds in the second half to reach the career mark. Sexton scored a season-high 20 points in becoming the first player to join the club since Kelvin Martin joined the club back on March 1, 2011 against UNC Asheville.
While Sexton had the historic night, Harper was the difference maker. He was a perfect 5-for-5 from three-point range and was 11-of-14 from the floor as the Bucs' controlled the tempo and the game. He also had three steals to lead the Bucs' defense. The sophomore All-Big South selection has the Bucs looking ahead.
"You can't change the past," Harper said in a press conference after the game. "You lose a game and you have to move on. I felt like we bounced back tremendously from our start this season and put two great wins together."
Nimley matched his career-high assist total with 12, feeding Sexton and Harper throughout. His 12 assists matched his total in a Bucs' win at Stetson last December.
Cedrick Bowen was also in double-digits with 14 points as the Buccaneers led by as many as 32 in the second half in pulling away for their fourth straight win over the Bulldogs.
The Buccaneers shot a season-high 61.7 percent from the floor in the game as four CSU players shot over 50.0 percent from the floor in the contest, while Charleston Southern also connected on a season-high 14 three-pointers in the contest, hitting 53.8 percent of their attempts from behind the arc. The 14 made three-pointers were also a season-high, led by five three-pointers apiece by Harper and Sexton.
The Citadel was led by Mike Groselle as the Bulldog senior center joined The Citadel's 1,000 point club in the loss. Groselle led five players in double-digits with 18 points as the Bulldogs shot 51.9 from the floor and 44.4 percent from behind the arc in the loss. Lawrence Miller had 14 points off the bench for the Bulldogs, while Ashton Moore (12), Matt Van Scyoc (11) and Marshall Harris III (10) were also in double-digits for The Citadel.
Sexton hit the first shot of the game, connecting from behind the arc to give CSU the early advantage, but The Citadel responded with a layup by Ashton Moore and a three-pointer by Matt Van Scyoc to put the Bulldogs up 5-3 with 17:41 to play in the half.
Harper responded with eight consecutive points for the Buccaneers and Matt Kennedy added a three-pointer from the right corner to swing the advantage back to Charleston Southern as CSU took the 14-8 lead following Kennedy's basket at the 14:40 mark.
With the score at 14-10 following a Mike Groselle layup, the Buccaneers began a 15-3 run spanning the next 5:33 in the first half as Harper connected on a floating jumper in the paint to spark the run. Saah Nimley added five points during the stretch as the Buccaneers forced three Bulldogs' turnovers and six missed shots before Groselle ended the run with a layup to put the score at 29-15 with 8:36 to play in the half.
Lawrence Miller followed the Groselle layup with back-to-back three-pointers to bring The Citadel back to within 10 points with 5:49 to play as the teams traded points for a majority of the rest of the first half.
With 2:12 left in the half, Sexton began a run as the senior guard scored nine consecutive Charleston Southern points, hitting a free throw, two three-pointers and a jumper in the short right corner to give CSU the 47-30 lead. Marshall Harris III scored the final basket of the half for the visitors, connecting on a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded to put the score at 47-33 at the halftime break.
Sexton joined the 1,000 point club with his first shot of the second half as CSU and Harper and Nimley added three-pointers of their own as the Buccaneers' lead stretched over 20 as the Buccaneers went up 58-37 with 17:34 to play in the contest.
The Buccaneers run continued in the second half as CSU opened with a 25-10 run spanning the first seven minutes of the half as Harper and Sexton had 13 points during the run, while Nimley added five assists as the CSU lead reached 72-43 with 13:35 to play in the game.
CSU went up by as many as 32 following a running jumper by Harper at the 10:13 mark in the second half as the Buccaneers took the 78-46 lead in the game.
The Citadel made several runs over the final 10 minutes but were unable to get back within 24 points as Charleston Southern closed out the 101-73 victory in front of the raucous home crow inside the Buc Dome.
Paul Gombwer led the Buccaneers with nine rebounds as Charleston Southern won the battle of the boards over the Bulldogs with the 36-28 edge. Stephen Elmore led all players with 12 rebounds for The Citadel.
Charleston Southern returns to the road following a break for final exams as CSU travels to Johnson City, Tenn. to take on East Tennessee State on Tuesday, December 18th. East Tennessee State took the first game against CSU earlier this season inside the Buc Dome, 59-57. Tipoff for the rematch game at East Tennessee State is set for 7 p.m.
CSU enjoys a two-week break before returning to action with two road games in three days. The Bucs face East Tennessee State on Dec. 18 in Johnson City, Tenn. and Wichita State on Dec. 20 in Wichita, Kan.