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Big South Recap 2/27/24

By: Josh Noel

 

Are you not entertained?

 

As the final week of the Big South regular season begins, things couldn’t be much closer than they currently are in the conference standings.

 

High Point clinched a share of the Big South regular season title for the first time since 2016. The Panthers can lock up the top seed in the conference tournament as early as Wednesday, Feb. 28, but UNC Asheville still holds a chance to claim back-to-back number one seeds.

 

Gardner-Webb and Winthrop hold the third and fourth seeds, with the rematch between the two teams coming on Saturday, Mar. 2, the last day of conference play.

 

A four-way tie of Longwood, Radford, Presbyterian and Charleston Southern will somehow be separated by Saturday evening, while USC Upstate remains within striking distance at just one game back.

 

Here’s what happened this week in the Big South:


Wednesday, Feb. 21

Blue Hose Blow Away Eagles on the Road: Presbyterian 78, Winthrop 55 

 

A 10-3 run to close the first half and a dominant second half enabled Presbyterian to pull off a major road upset victory over Winthrop.

 

The Blue Hose held the Eagles to a season-low 55 points including 19 points in the second half from 17 total forced turnovers.

 

Presbyterian’s victory marks its first win against Winthrop since the 2018-19 season and the Blue Hose’s largest-ever margin of victory over the Eagles.

 

Samage Teel paced the Blue Hose with 22 points, and Marquis Burnett added 19 points.

 

Kelton Talford scored 15 points for the Eagles.

 

Lancers Make a Statement Against Bulldogs: Longwood 80, UNC Asheville 75 

 

Don’t look now, but here come the Lancers.

 

Longwood overcame a six-point halftime deficit and overtook the lead with five minutes remaining to clip the Bulldogs.

 

Walyn Napper mustered yet another double-digit scoring effort at 16 points, and Johnathan Massie added 14 points off the bench for the Lancers.

 

Josh Banks led the Bulldogs with 23 points.

 

Late Spurt Lifts Buccaneers Past Spartans: Charleston Southern 63, USC Upstate 60

 

Despite only making one basket in the final 3:04 of the second half, Charleston Southern found a way to overcome a late 60-54 deficit and escape from Spartanburg victorious.  

 

The Buccaneers drew fouls late, converting seven free throws while forcing Spartan turnovers and missed shots.

 

A’lahn Sumler and RJ Johnson both recorded 19 points for the Buccaneers in the win.

 

Justin Bailey led the way for the Spartans with 17 points. 

 

Thursday, Feb. 22

Offensive Outburst gets Highlanders Back in Win Column: Radford 90, Gardner-Webb 74

 

Under the national spotlight on ESPNU’s Wild Card Game, Radford roared out of the gates to stake a 53-35 first half lead and ultimately cruise to victory on the road at Gardner-Webb.

 

The Highlanders led by as many 26 in snapping a five-game losing streak.

 

All Radford starters finished in double figures, with DaQuan Smith spearheading the Highlander attack (24 points) while Justin Archer recorded his fifth double-double on the campaign.

 

Julien Soumaoro and DQ Nicholas both dropped 15 points for the Runnin’ Bulldogs.

 

Saturday, Feb. 24

Panthers Score Hardware in Win over Buccaneers: High Point 74, Charleston Southern 59

 

A strong second half earned High Point a share of its first Big South regular season championship since 2016.

 

Kezza Giffa led the Panthers with 20 points off the bench, and Juslin Bodo Bodo recorded his fourth double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) as well as his sixth straight 10-rebound game.

 

RJ Johnson scored his second straight 19-point game for the Buccaneers.

 

Aldrige Drops Daggers in Final Minute to Shock Bulldogs: Gardner-Webb 78, UNC Asheville 77

 

Less than 48 hours after a disappointing home loss, Gardner-Webb got two clutch 3-pointers in the final minute from Quest Aldridge to tie the game at 75 and put the Runnin’ Bulldogs ahead for good with 7.1 seconds remaining.

 

Gardner-Webb overcame a 16-point second half deficit to not just sweep UNC Asheville, but to hand the Bulldogs its first home loss on the season and put a serious dent in UNC Asheville’s regular season championship and top seed hopes.

 

Julien Soumaoro scored 16 points as one of five Runnin’ Bulldogs in double figures.

 

Trey Solomon and Fletcher Abee put up 16 points for the Bulldogs, with Solomon scoring his points off the bench.

 

Highlanders Getting Hot at the Right Time: Radford 88, Longwood 82

 

The short rest from the ESPNU Wild Card Game didn’t bother Radford, as the Highlanders never trailed in a wire-to-wire victory over Longwood at home.

 

The Highlanders shot 56% in both victories this week, with the scoring outputs from the two games marking Radford’s two highest point totals against division I opponents this season.

 

Five Highlanders once again scored in double figures, as DaQuan Smith led with 21 points while Justin Archer and Kenyon Giles tallied 17 points.

 

Walyn Napper scored 21 points for the Lancers.

 

Eagles Outlast Spartans at Home: Winthrop 83, USC Upstate 74 

 

Winthrop earned a much-needed bounce-back victory at home over USC Upstate.

 

The Eagles never trailed and extended the lead to as many as 16 points in the second half.

 

Micheal Anumba scored 15 points and Sin’Cere McMahon added 13 points off the bench for Winthrop.

 

Trae Broadnax scored a game-high 22 points for the Spartans.

 

 

SEEDING SCENARIOS

 

Curious about seeding tiebreakers? Check out this link to mred’s bball.notnothing.net to see what the Big South tournament seeds would be based on the outcomes of the remaining games.

 

Other conference seed outcomes are available, so explore the men’s and women’s BB tabs at the top of the page. Be sure to follow mred on X (@mred53).

 


Steps

 

1.      Select the winners of each game (highlighted in red with yellow text). NOTE: Home teams are listed on the LEFT of each matchup

2.      Click “Calculate Seeds”

3.      Observe the projected Big South Tournament bracket (see the example below)

 

 

Here are how the top four seeds can be locked up this week:

 

High Point

·       Earns #1 seed with:

o   WIN one of last two games (vs Winthrop, at Longwood)

o   OR UNC Asheville loses against Radford

UNC Asheville

·       Earns #1 seed with:

o   WIN against Radford AND High Point loses both its remaining games (vs Winthrop, at Longwood)

·       Earns #2 seed with:

o   WIN against Radford

o   OR Gardner-Webb loses one of its last two games (vs Longwood, at Winthrop)

Gardner-Webb

·       Earns #2 seed with:

o   WIN both remaining games (vs Longwood, at Winthrop) AND UNC Asheville loses at Radford

·       Earns #3 seed with:

o   WIN in either of two remaining games (vs Longwood, at Winthrop)

o   OR Winthrop loses either of its two remaining games (at High Point, vs Gardner-Webb)

Winthrop

·       Earns #3 seed with:

o   WIN both remaining games (at High Point, vs Gardner-Webb) AND Gardner-Webb loses vs Longwood prior to the two teams’ matchup in the finale

 

Be sure to also follow Matt Hackman (@mjhackman) on X for all the latest in Big South seeding probabilities.

 

Here’s his latest data:

 

 

What to watch for this week:

 

·       High Point looks to clinch its first outright Big South regular season championship and number one seed since 2016 when it hosts Winthrop (Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 7:00 p.m.)

·       Gardner-Webb travels to Winthrop in a possible head-to-head for the third seed (Saturday, Mar. 2 at 2:00 p.m.)

·       Presbyterian welcomes Charleston Southern with a first-round bye at stake (Saturday, Mar. 2 at 2:00 p.m.)

 

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