CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Southern Buccaneers exploded for 24 points in the first 7:08 of the first half and had four players in double figures in a 86-68 win over Campbell on Saturday night in the Buc Dome.
The Bucs put a quick end to a two-game losing streak and reverted back to the form which had them threatening a school-record winning streak in January.
Charleston Southern (13-8, 8-2 Big South) stays within a half game of UNC Asheville in the South Division. Campbell falls to 10-15 and 5-6 in league play.
Sophomore guards Arlon Harper and Saah Nimley set the tone early Saturday night as CSU put together maybe its best 10-minute offensive stretch of the season.
Bucs' head coach Barclay Radebaugh liked what he saw tempo-wise from his team after slowing down for two games.
"To play with that type of efficiency for that long was impressive," Radebaugh said in his postgame press conference. "We had a February lull, and it was a two-game lull, and I hope we're back on track. We certainly have a lot to play for, and tonight was an important step in getting our ship heading in the right direction. We're efficient offensively when we move the ball, when we share the ball, when we pitch ahead "For two games, we became a half court team and that's not who we are."
The Bucs broke the game open quickly building an early 24-13 lead. Nimley had a quick 10 points and Harper had nine as CSU clicked on both end of the floor. Nimley finished with a game-high 20 points and Harper added 17 to go with six rebounds and four steals, two which led to open court dunks.
CSU also got a complete effort from its posts. Forwards Paul Gombwer and Allie Fullah combined to go 7-of-7 from the floor in the first half. They each finished with six rebounds and had 10 and nine points, respectively. Only Fullah missed a shot attempt, a tip on an offensive rebound.
"I thought they both played well," Radebaugh said of his two posts. "Paul played particularly well in the first half. Paul is a warrior. He comes to work every day. Allie is improving drastically. He gives us the body that we need to compete for a championship."
After a night in which nothing seemed to fall on Wednesday, everything fell for the Bucs in the first half, including a 30-footer for Harper as the first half expired. The Bucs took a 49-25 lead into the locker room, sucking all the drama out of the second half. CSU led by as many as 33 in the game.
The Bucs did all the small things to get back back in the win column, getting to every loose ball and snagging rebounds, something they hadn't been doing in dropping back-to-back games.
They also had only three first half turnovers and dominated the boards, 40-24.
CSU now travels to Winthrop for a tough mid-week road trip.
"Winthrop is one of those teams that is hard to score against because of their strength and their size," Radebaugh said. "We have to take tomorrow off and then really prepare to work hard against a good Winthrop team."
The Bucs opened up an eight-point lead at 17-9 as Harper and Nimley each connected on their first three-pointers of the game. Muo also knocked down an early trey as CSU, one of the nation's three-point shooting teams, made three in the game's opening five minutes.
CSU answered a Campbell run with a spurt of its own to keep the lead at double figures. A Harper dunk off a steal and a put back by Paul Gombwer helped CSU match its largest lead at 32-19.
Harper would again jump in the passing lane for another breakaway dunk as the Bucs extended their margin to 38-23.
CSU poured it on through the end of the first half, all the way through the buzzer. Harper knocked down a 30-footer as time expired to cap the Bucs best half since their eight-game winning streak last month.
The Bucs put together a 17-9 run to open the second half to put the game out of reach. Back-to-back three pointers from Mathiang Muo fueled the run as did the Bucs' defense, which had four steals during the spurt.
Campbell got a big night from its bench, led by Marvelle Harris with 14 points and eight rebounds. Trey Freeman added 13 and D.J. Mason had a late 12.
CSU finished 11-of-25 from behind the arc and had only 10 turnovers.
The Bucs travel to Rock Hill, S.C. on Wednesday to face Winthrop University. The game is the first of two road trips this week for CSU. It will play at UNC Asheville on Feb. 16.