The Citadel men's basketball team scored 72 points in the first half alone and built up a 42-point lead early in the second half en route to earning a 122-98 win over Coker College in the final exhibition game of the preseason Friday afternoon inside McAlister Field House.
"It was good that we got to play everybody today and had a chance to see everybody in different combinations out on the court," said head coach Duggar Baucom. "I was very pleased how we started the game, very aggressive. And to score 72 points in the first half certainly shows we were clicking. Any time you get up 30 or more at the half, you kind of tune back the pressure a little bit. We also played some combinations we probably don't get to do very often and then (Coker) went to the foul line a lot in the second half, so there was a six-minute lull where they got back into it a bit. But overall, for 34 minutes or so, I thought we did very well."
The Citadel came out firing on all cylinders in the game as the Bulldogs shot a blistering 61.4 percent (27-of-44) from the field in the opening period, including 11-for-22 from beyond the three-point arc. Coker was limited to a 38.2 percent (13-of-34) effort in the first half, connecting on just three of their 11 three-point attempts (27.3 percent).
The second half saw the two teams more evenly matched as The Citadel let off the pressure a bit. Coker managed to shoot 47.4 percent (18-of-38) from the field while the Bulldogs shot 42.9 percent (15-of-35) in the stanza.
All 12 Bulldogs that were available to play Friday night saw plenty of action and everybody scored, led by sophomore guard Preston Parks' 20 points off 8-for-10 shooting from the field, including 3-for-4 from beyond the three-point arc. Parks, the 2016-17 SoCon Freshman of the Year and a Preseason All-SoCon selection going into this season, had a game-high three seals, matching fellow guards Frankie Johnson and Quayson Williams for most in the game.
Four other Bulldogs finished the contest in double figures, including sophomore Kaelon Harris, who went 5-for-11 from the field and 8-for-11 from the free throw line to score 19 points. Harris also brought down six rebounds, three on each end of the court.
Behind Harris were junior Zane Najdawi with 16 points, freshman Tariq Simmons with 14 and fellow freshman Rob Johnson with 10. Simmons just missed out on a double-double as he brought down nine boards on the night while Johnson corralled in seven and swatted away two shots.
For Coker, Jake Barrett had a game-high 21 points off 7-for-13 shooting, but missed all five of his three-point attempts. Barrett went to the free throw line 12 times and connected on seven. As a team, the Cobras shot 42 free throws.
Behind Barrett, Donte Samuels ended the game with 18 points, Larry Cooper netted 15 and Khalil Halls and DeMarco Jackson scored 13 points and 12 points respectively.
The Citadel will open the regular season next Friday, Nov. 10, with a 3 p.m. tipoff against the Stormy Petrels of Oglethorpe inside McAlister Field House. Following the season-opener, the Bulldogs will hit the road for a three-game road swing that will take them up through Virginia and back down into North Carolina for games against Virginia Tech, North Carolina A&T and High Point.
-per The Citadel Athletics