The Citadel men's basketball team fell behind early and never fully recovered Wednesday night as the North Carolina A&T Aggies claimed a 92-73 win over the Bulldogs inside Corbett Sports Center in front of a crowd of over 2,000 fans.
"They say that during a season there are probably two games where everything goes in and you can't lose on those nights. Then, there are two nights where nothing goes in, no matter what you try, and this was certainly one of those games," said head coach Duggar Baucom. "We couldn't hit shots, couldn't defend well, dropped balls out of bounds, had turnovers when they didn't pressure us, gave up second chance baskets, just a multitude of things, and it was contagious. We got down 13-2 there in the first half, but played them pretty even the rest of the half and I thought we would be able to come out and make a run at them there in the second half, but the second half we played even worse. This is certainly a learning experience and what you would call a missed opportunity for a road win. We just have to have our older guys step up and we can't rely on freshmen every single game."
The Aggies (2-1) opened the game on an 11-0 run before Frankie Johnson was able to score the Bulldogs' first points of the contest nearly five minutes in.
The Bulldogs (1-2) were then able to use a quick spurt of six points from Kaelon Harris, Preston Parks and Tariq Simmons to pull to within six points of the Aggies, 19-13 with 9:15 to go in the opening half, but N.C. A&T went on another streak to close out the half with momentum, taking a 48-36 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Out of the intermission, the Aggies continued to keep the pressure on as they out-scored the Bulldogs 44-37 in the second half, including an 8-2 run in the first four minutes of the period.
With just over 12 minutes to go in regulation, Matt Frierson and Parks hit back-to-back three-pointers to pull the Bulldogs to within 10, 60-50 of the Aggies, but that was as close as the Bulldogs would come as the Aggies once again opened up the advantage from there, steadily building up the lead to as many as 22, 86-64 with 3:25 to go.
The Bulldogs shot 34.2% (27-of-79) from the field for the game, including 15.2% (5-of-33) from three-point range, while the Aggies hit on 56.9% (37-of-65) of their attempts from the field. The Bulldogs managed to win the turnover battle, forcing 22 by North Carolina A&T while turning the ball over 18 times, but the Aggies boasted a 31-11 advantage in fast break points.
Parks was the leading scorer for The Citadel as he netted 19 points off a 7-for-18 (.389) shooting performance to go along with three steals and two assists in 29 minutes of work. Johnson and Quayson Williams also finished the game in double figures, scoring 13 and 10 points respectively.
The Aggies were led by Femi Olujobi's 29 points and Devonte Boykins' double-double of 18 points and 11 rebounds. Olujobi just missed out on a double-double of his own as he finished his 37 minutes of work with nine boards. Olujobi went 13-of-15 (.867) from the field.
The Citadel will next travel to High Point on Saturday, Nov. 18 for a 2 p.m. tip. Following the game against the Panthers, the Bulldogs will return home for a game against Trinity Baptist on Tuesday, Nov. 21 inside McAlister Field House. Tipoff will be at 6 p.m. The home tilt with Trinity Baptist is sponsored by Hebrew National and will be "Kids Eat Free Night." All kids in attendance will receive a free hotdog, Pepsi product and popcorn.