Charleston Southern Falls To Gardner-Webb, Big South Lead Narrows

A miserable performance by the best team in the conference led us to do a little digging about their fortunes, and what we found isn't impressive.

Coming into tonight's matchup against Gardner-Webb, the Charleston Southern Buccaneers had a comfortable lead within the Big South Conference and seemed well on their way to a title in March.

Sure, they just struggled in a win over Liberty, but that was just a blip on the radar, right? They faced the Runnin' Bulldogs (I really doubt that) tonight, and it looks like we may have the beginnings of a bad trend now.

CSU shot only 33% in the first half, but somehow managed to hang tough, well into the second half (despite their FG PCT only improving to 39% in the second frame). They managed to erase an eight point deficit in the final two minutes of the game, only to blow the overtime period on a basket-and-one as time wound down to seal their fate.

If you look at the box score, Saah Nimley, Arlon Harper, Jeremy Sexton, and Mathaing Muo did all the scoring - literally, they scored all but nine of the team's points. But that's nothing new; the Buccaneers are getting two thirds of their points from this leading quartet for the season.

The problem is that they are a horribly inefficient team on offense. Saah Nimley may lead the team with 15.4 points per game, but he's only shooting 36% from the field - he is averaging 18 shots per game in his last six games. Spaghetti Theory (throw a bunch of shots at the goal and see what sticks) should not be used on the court of basketball.

The fact that he has scored 50 points in the Bucs last two outings is wiped out entirely by how many shots he has needed to get it (his effective FG%, per KenPom, is only 45.5% - good for 7th out of 10 players getting significant playing time for CSU).

The team as a whole isn't much better - their adjusted efficiency, assist rate, free throw shooting - they are just not terribly efficient at anything. That group of players I just mentioned has upped their scoring from last season largely by just taking more shots - not a reliable way to improve yourself as a team, especially when those shots aren't going in any more frequently.

Maybe they have enough for this not to be an issue. There isn't really a team on CSU's side of the conference that is producing on a consistent, game-in and game-out basis (hello, Gardner-Webb). But the Bucs need to be careful, otherwise they just might shoot their own lights out.

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