SANTO DOMINGO, D.R. - Following a fulfilling day of interactions with the Dominican people at a local church service, the Charleston Southern men's basketball team took to the hardwood for a contest against the La Fe professional team. Spurred on by a balanced effort, the Bucs withstood the intense heat of an open-air gym and held off a late La Fe charge to come away with a 57-54 win.
Juniors Sheldon Strickland and Joe Williams paced the Bucs with eight points apiece, while classmate Allie Fullah made his impact felt down low by chipping in seven tallies and a team-high six rebounds.
"Tonight was a great opportunity to play in a very tough and adverse game environment," CSU Head Coach Barclay Radebaugh said. "We did not play our very best in any phase of the game, but I am looking forward to playing tomorrow. We will be more rested, more prepared for the tough competition, more accustomed to the open-air gym, and we will have a game under our belt playing with international rules. Today was a great day for our team. Basketball was a small part of our overall experience today."
CSU took control of the contest with a dominating second quarter of play which sent it into halftime with a 35-18 advantage. Sophomore guard Saah Nimley began the barrage with an acrobatic layup in traffic, and Williams energized the club moments later with a two-hand dunk follow off a missed shot. Strickland punctuated the period as the game approached intermission, coming up with a steal and layup in transition.
Nimley also provided the Bucs their first lead of the contest in the opening quarter by swishing a three after an opening basket by La Fe. Cedrick Bowen came up with the highlight of a 6-point, 4 rebound performance in the first stanza as well by coming through with a theft of his own before a fast break dunk.
Paul Gombwer highlighted the Bucs' third quarter play with a pair of interior scores, and CSU took a 42-32 lead into the final period before holding on for a 57-54 triumph. The Bucs grinded out the victory despite attempting 18 fewer free throws (9-27) than La Fe.
To view a photo gallery of the mission trip's first two days, click here.
For a breakdown on CSU's individual stat lines, read below.
Player Points Rebounds
Arlon Harper 4 3
Sheldon Strickland 8 3
Saah Nimley 7 4
Jeremy Sexton 4 1
Mitchell Deter 0 1
Joe Williams 8 4
Paul Gombwer 5 3
Malcolm Bernard 2 2
Mathiang Muo 6 5
Cedrick Bowen 6 4
Allie Fullah 7 6