Freshmen Lead Bulldogs to Victory Over Piedmont

Freshmen Lead Bulldogs to Victory Over Piedmont
Rudy Fitzgibbons had 25 points to help lead The Citadel to a win over Piedmont on Tuesday night. (Source: The Citadel Athletics)

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Three freshmen finished with double-digit points and accounted for over half of The Citadel basketball team's points Tuesday night as the Bulldogs notched a 129-83 victory over Piedmont College in the final home game of 2019.

VIDEO: The Citadel gets 46 point win over Piedmont

The victory also marked the 50th win at the helm of the program for head coach Duggar Baucom, moving him into sole possession of eighth in program history for career wins by a head coach.

Game Information Final Score: The Citadel 129, Piedmont 83

Records: The Citadel (5-5), Piedmont (5-2)

Location: Charleston, S.C. (McAlister Field House)

Series: The Citadel leads, 12-1

KEY STATS

  • Piedmont gave The Citadel an early scare as the Lions took advantage of a couple of turnovers and several missed shots by the Bulldogs to establish a nine-point, 14-5 lead through the first three and a half minutes of play.
  • From there, the Bulldogs mounted a 15-0 run over the next nearly four minutes to take a six-point, 20-14 lead that began with a Kaelon Harris free throw and ended with a Fletcher Abee fast-break layup. The 'Dogs never trailed from that point forward.
  • Piedmont managed to keep things close for the following three minutes, but with 9:54 left in the first half, Harris made it an 11-point, 34-23 game with a layup, and with 7:51 to go in the opening stanza, Alex Reed made it a 20-point, 46-26 advantage for the Bulldogs with a fast-break layup of his own.
  • With 2:30 left to play in the first half, Derek Webster, Jr. gave the Bulldogs a 31-point, 65-34 advantage with a heavily-contested layup, and a few trips up and down the court later, Abee made it 34, 70-36 with another of his game-high six 3-pointers.
  • The second half began similarly to the first with Piedmont chipping away at the lead, cutting it to 25, 81-56 with 14:41 left in regulation after Orry Clements-Owens hit one of his team-high five 3-pointers, but the Bulldogs quickly worked to reestablish the 30-point lead.
  • With 9:39 left, Kaiden Rice converted the old-fashioned three-point play to give the 'Dogs their first 40-point advantage of the night, and with with 5:38 left, it was Brady Spence making it a 50-point, 115-65 advantage with a layup.
  • The Bulldogs' largest lead of the night came with 3:00 left to play when Spence converted a three-point play to make it a 53-point, 126-73 advantage when he was fouled on a layup that came off an assist from fellow freshman big man Stephen Clark.
  • The Bulldogs shot 57.5% (46-80) from the field for the game, including 60.0% (24-40) in the opening half, while the Lions shot 37.1% (26-70) from the field.
  • The Citadel converted 14 3-pointers as a team, including a game-high six from Abee.
  • Abee led all scorers with a career-high 27 points off 10-of-16 (.625) shooting. The Morganton, North Carolina native went 6-for-9 (.667) from long range.
  • Fellow freshman Rudy Fitzgibbons, III was just behind him with a career-high 25 points off 7-of-13 (.538) shooting, including four 3-pointers. Fitzgibbons converted a rare four-point play and added six rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals in the win.
  • Spence ended the night with a career-high 16 points off 5-of-6 (.833) shooting from the field. Spence matched his career high with three blocked shots and brought town five boards.
  • Justin Quick led Piedmont with 17 points. The Lions played all 16 players available.

NOTABLES

  • The win marked Baucom’s 50th-career win as the head coach at The Citadel. He moves into sole possession of eighth all-time in program history.
  • Baucom now boasts 31 home wins, the seventh-most in program history for a head coach.
  • The win was the 995th win in program history.
  • The 129 points scored by the Bulldogs were the most since the 2018-19 squad scored 127 against Johnson & Wales (Charlotte) on Dec. 5, 2018.
  • The 129 points scored mark the seventh-most points ever scored by The Citadel in a game.
  • Tuesday marked the 23rd time that the ‘Dogs have scored at least 100 points under Baucom’s guidance. The Citadel is 20-3 in Baucom’s tenure when eclipsing the century mark and 50-5 all-time in program history.
  • The Bulldogs scored 70 points in the first half of Tuesday’s game, marking the most points scored in a single half since the 2018-19 Bulldogs netted 73 against Mid-Atlantic Christian on Nov. 12, 2018. In that same game, the ‘Dogs scored 75 points in the first half.
  • The 70 points scored in the first half Tuesday night are tied for the sixth most in program history. The program record is 83 scored in a half against Mid-Atlantic Christian on Nov. 19, 2015.
  • With 14 3-pointers made, the Bulldogs have now converted at least one triple in 400 straight games.
  • The 46 made field goals are tied for 11th in program history for a single game.
  • Abee, Fitzgibbons and Spence all set career highs in points scored. Abee and Fitzgibbons recorded their first collegiate 20-point games.

QUOTABLES FROM COACH BAUCOM

“I wasn’t very pleased with the first four minutes, all the way out to the eight-minute mark. We put some guys in, Rudy, Alex and Derek gave us a little spark, and I thought we played much better the last 12 minutes of the first half. I thought we had some good spurts in the second half, but we had great play from three of our freshmen in Fletcher, Rudy and Brady. That should give them all a good shot of confidence and gives them a good idea of what it’s going to be like out on the court once conference play starts. I’m just really proud of the effort and how hard they played. They really gave us some energy and you usually look to upperclassmen for that.”

COMING UP The Bulldogs will be off for nine days to focus on final exams before hitting the road for the final two non-conference games of the season. The ‘Dogs first travel to Longwood on Thursday, Dec. 19 for a 7 p.m. tipoff, and will then head to NC State on Sunday, Dec. 22 before taking a break for the holidays.