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Big South Recap 3/6/24

By Josh Noel

The best time of the year is here: March basketball! 

For the third-straight season, a new school hoisted the regular season trophy, with High Point earning its first outright Big South regular season championship since 2014.

Big South play is reaching its apex at just the right time; all eight games on this week’s docket were decided by single digits, with six of the winning margins by five points or less.  

This exciting brand of basketball is not new to the conference this season.

According to, the Big South boasts the third-highest percentage of any conference in the country of “close games” (games decided by <4 points or OT) at 27.8%.  

With the dust now settled, it’s time for the conference tournament in which anything can happen to determine who will earn the Big South’s automatic bid to the big dance. 

Wednesday, Feb. 28 

Panthers Outlast Eagles in Slug Fest to Earn Outright Crown- High Point 100, Winthrop 96 (OT) 

After nearly three hours of game time, 59 fouls and 86 combined free throws, High Point hung on against Winthrop to post its first season sweep of the Eagles since 2014-15. 

The night almost turned disastrous for the Panthers, as the Eagles never quit and overcame a 19-point second-half deficit to force overtime. 

Abdoulaye Thiam paced the Panthers attack, scoring 25 points including five 3-pointers and four free throws in the final 16 seconds of overtime. 

Kasen Harrison mustered a career-high 27 points for the Eagles. 

Broadnax Layup Pushes Spartans Past Blue Hose: USC Upstate 74, Presbyterian 72

A falling-away hook shot by Trae Broadnax with 1.5 seconds remaining gave USC Upstate a thrilling win over Presbyterian on senior night.

Nick Alves (13 points) finished as one of five Spartans in double-figures, including three double-digit scorers off the bench.  

Kory Mincy, who earned Big South Freshman of the Week, scored 17 points for the Blue Hose, along with a double-double effort by Trevon Reddish-Rhone (11 points, 10 rebounds).  

Buccaneers Buckle Down in Second Half to Clip Highlanders: Charleston Southern 58, Radford 57

A’lahn Sumler’s jumper with 59 seconds remaining not only gave Charleston Southern its first lead since 11:28 in the first half, but it proved to be the difference as the Buccaneers prevailed at home. 

CSU’s victory marks its first sweep over Radford since the 2011-12 season. 

Sumler led the Buccaneers attack all night long with 24 points, and Taje’ Kelly added his conference-leading ninth double-double of the season (13 points, 10 rebounds). 

Kenyon Giles tallied 18 points for the Highlanders. 

Thursday, Feb. 29

Runnin’ Bulldogs Avoid Collapse and Hold Off Lancers: Gardner-Webb 72, Longwood 69 

Even after a 22-point halftime lead vanished in the closing seconds, DQ Nicholas managed to draw a foul on a 3-pointer and sink all three free throws allowing the Runnin’ Bulldogs to escape the Lancers at home in ESPNU’s Wild Card Game. 

Gardner-Webb’s victory marks its first sweep over Longwood since 2018-19, and both victories this season are also the Runnin’ Bulldogs first over the Lancers since 2019. 

Lucas Stieber delivered a season-high 20 points for the Runnin’ Bulldogs including 5-for-7 from 3-point range. DQ Nicholas and Julien Soumaoro both had 12 points. 

Walyn Napper led the Lancers with 14 points. 

Saturday, Mar. 2 

Napper Beats Buzzer to Lift Lancers over Panthers: Longwood 74, High Point 72 

A driving Walyn Napper thundered down the right side of the lane and threw up an under-handed layup that banked in to beat the clock and the High Point Panthers in the Lancers’ regular season finale. 

It looked as though the contest was headed in the opposite direction when Kimani Hamilton sunk a pair of free throws with 35 seconds remaining to give High Point its first lead since 0:56 of the first half, but a Szymon Zapala layup and Napper’s game-winner proved to be the difference. 

The win proved to be monumental for Longwood’s Big South Tournament seeding; entering the game, Longwood held a 34% chance to earn the fifth seed and a 40% chance to earn the ninth seed. 

The Lancers’ victory (along with other conference results) puts Longwood in the fifth seed slot just one pod away from a potential rubber match with High Point in the semifinals. 

Johnathan Massie scored 16 points for Longwood, and DA Houston added 15 points. 

Abdoulaye Thiam tallied a game-high 21 points for the Panthers. 

It’s Lucas Stieber’s World, We’re Just Living in it: Gardner-Webb 65, Winthrop 64 

You might have just read about Lucas Stieber, but believe it or not, he played the hero once again not even 48 hours later. 

Stieber only scored six points against Winthrop, but three of those came when he drilled a jumper behind the arc with 2.7 seconds remaining to give Gardner-Webb a photo-finish win over Winthrop on the road.

The victory gave Gardner-Webb another season sweep over a conference opponent and its first regular season sweep over Winthrop since 2013-14. 

Julien Soumaoro scored 13 points for the Runnin’ Bulldogs, and Michael Anumba recorded a game-high 16 points for the Eagles. 

Blue Hose Blow Past Buccaneers: Presbyterian 72, Charleston Southern 65 

Presbyterian only trailed after the first basket in a wire-to-wire victory at home over Charleston Southern. 

With the victory, Presbyterian earns the sixth seed in the Big South tournament, the highest for the Blue Hose in the conference’s postseason. 

Trevon Reddish-Rhone earned Big South Player of the Week honors in part for his effort (16 points), and Samage Teel scored 18 points for the Blue Hose. 

A’lahn Sumler scored a game-high 23 points. 

Bulldogs Hold off Highlanders on the Road: UNC Asheville 71, Radford 62 

UNC Asheville never trailed in a victory over Radford on the road to avoid dropping to the third seed. 

Drew Pember scored 25 points for the Bulldogs in his 14th game of 20+ points this season. Fletcher Abee also scored 21 points. 

Chris Turner and Josiah Harris tallied 13 points, with Harris doing his damage off the bench. 



The Big South Tournament begins TONIGHT at 8:00pm EST as USC Upstate and Radford take the stage with the winner set to take on High Point.

What to watch for in the Big South Tournament: 

  • High Point looks to hold serve at home in the Qubein Center and earn its first bid to the NCAA Tournament as a Division I program 

  • UNC Asheville and Winthrop look to capture a third and fourth Big South conference championship respectively in the past ten seasons 

  • Presbyterian seeks to spring some upsets with its highest-ever seed in the Big South Tournament 


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