NORTH CHARLESTON – Presbyterian’s Big South visit to Charleston Southern slipped away early in the second as Buccaneers, led by Phlandrus Fleming’s 25 points, defeated the Blue Hose, 74-66, on Thursday night.
The Buccaneers opened the second half with a 16-4 run to take a double-digit lead. Presbyterian (8-12, 5-2) rallied to retake the lead briefly, but could not hang on down the stretch.
Cory Hightower led PC with 15 points, with Ben Drake tops on the boards with eight.
Charleston Southern jumped out to a 7-2 lead early in the first half, but Hightower came back with a layup and 3-pointer in less than 30 seconds to tie the game, 7-7. The tight battle went back and fourth for the remainder of the half, which ended with the teams tied, 33-33. PC led by as many as four, and the Buccaneers once led by eight.
The Bucs stormed out of the gates in the second half, taking a 10-point, 45-35 lead five minutes in. The PC offense began clicking, with a Kody Shubert layup starting a 17-6 run, including six points from Michael Isler, to cut the margin to only one, 54-55, 8:47 to go. A couple free throws and a J.C. Younger 3-pointer at 6:53 gave PC its only lead of the final 20 minutes. CSU’s Duncan LeXander hit back-to-back 3-pointers, and Fleming added a layup, to give the home team the 65-59 lead with 3:04 remaining. The Blue Hose never got closer than four points again.
Isler finished with 12 points, and Shubert scored 10.
PC was hot in the opening 20 minutes, shooting 52.4 percent, compared to 45.2 for CSU, but only hit 43.8 percent for the game. CSU (10-9, 4-3) finished with 48.3 percent for the game. The Blue Hose held a 35-29 advantage in rebounds, but had six more turnovers, 15-9. The Bucs scored 24 points off those turnovers, compared to eight for PC. The Blue Hose hit 17 free throws to the Bucs' nine.
The next trip is even harder as PC visits the Big South leader, Winthrop, on Saturday.