Saturday, November 19, 2016

Basketball: A sometimes cruel sport that builds character. Here's an example.

Screen grab of Charleston Southern freshman Christian Keeling on the floor after celebrating a last minute Bucs run.

Basketball can be cruel. Christian Keeling turned in another standout performance today, scoring 15 points, grabbing 8 rebounds, and dishing 5 assists in Charleston Southern's 79-77 loss to USC Upstate. But he was seconds away from being crowned hero of the day before a freak play on what should have been CSU's final possession gave Upstate the ball with 10 seconds remaining and CSU leading by 2. Of course, because basketball can be cruel, Upstate proceeded to bury a three to snatch a 78-77 victory from the jaws of defeat.

Keeling's reverse layup made it 75-74, Upstate.
Making it sting even worse for our guy Christian was that the minute leading up to that fateful play was a series possessions full of the kind of Keeling-esque magic we grew used to seeing from him at Laney the last four years here.

Down 75-72 with less than a minute remaining, Christian finished a Jordan like reverse layup (see photo) to cut the deficit to 1. Then he grabbed a loose ball and pushed it up court and assisted on a Patrick Wallace three that put the Bucs ahead 77-75. Not finished yet, and with Charleston Southern needing a stop, CK took a charge on what should have been the final stand, exactly like coach Buck Harris (Laney) taught him to do.

The picture I post at the top is a screen grab of Christian lying on his back outside the team's huddle immediately after he sacrificed his body to draw the offensive foul. His teammates were so happy for him they shoved him in "tough-guy excitement" when he came off the court after the big play. Christian, probably spent from giving all he had, collapsed to the ground.

On the ground or not, I'm sure CK felt like he was on top of the world during that moment. And I'm sure he feels lower than ground level now. Like I said, basketball can be cruel. But the adversity and heart break also builds fine men. Like Christian.

Go CK. Keep Your head up and we love you man!

The Bucs travel to Abilene Christian Tuesday for an 8:00 P.M. (eastern) non-conference game.

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