Despite Strong Second Half, Bulldogs Fall at NC State

Despite Strong Second Half, Bulldogs Fall at NC State
The Citadel men's basketball team fell on the road Sunday evening in Raleigh to NC State. (Source: The Citadel Basketball)

RALEIGH, N.C. – Junior Kaiden Rice scored 19 second half points and The Citadel basketball team managed to close to within 12 points of NC State in the second half Sunday night, but it was not enough as the Bulldogs fell 83-63 at the hands of the Wolfpack.

Game Information

Final Score: NC State 83, The Citadel 63

Records: NC State (10-3), The Citadel (6-6)

Location: Raleigh, N.C. (PNC Arena)

Series: NC State leads, 17-1

KEY STATS

  • NC State opened the game with a 7-0 run, but the Wolfpack didn't manage to convert a field goal until just over two minutes in when Markell Johnson converted his first 3-pointer of the game.
  • The Bulldogs managed to answer with five points off an Alex Reed fast-break layup and 3-pointer, but with 12:53 left in the opening half, the Wolfpack lead was 10, 15-5.
  • The Bulldogs managed to keep the deficit to below 20 for the entire second half as NC State's largest lead of the period was 10, 37-18 after a Johnson layup.
  • The Citadel entered halftime trailing by 18, 40-22.
  • The second half opened the NC State stretching the lead out to 23 with a quick five points from C.J. Bryce and Devon Daniels, but Rice began to catch fire as he hit his first 3-pointer of the game nearly a minute into the half. His shot gave confidence to his fellow scorers, and it didn't take long for Tyson Batiste, Reed and Eddie Davis, III to follow suit with treys of their own.
  • Davis' 3-pointer with 16:07 left in regulation pulled the Bulldogs to within 14, 50-36, of the Wolfpack and breathed new life into the 'Dogs.
  • NC State managed to stretch the lead back out to 23 at 63-40 off a Danny Dixon layup with 12:01 left in regulation, but the Bulldogs slowly began to chip away at the deficit and with 4:40 remaining, Kaelon Harris made it a 12-point, 72-60 game with a free throw that followed five straight points from Rice.
  • The Bulldogs had two prime opportunities to cut the lead into single digits, but NC State managed to keep the 'Dogs at bay and came up with a clutch defensive rebound that they turned into two points off a pair of free throws.
  • From there, the Pack steadily added to the lead with the final score being set at 83-63 when Chase Graham hit a 3-pointer with 36 seconds remaining.
  • The Citadel ended the game shooting 33.8% (23-of-68) from the field, but the Bulldogs out-shot the Pack from long range, converting 14 treys compared to just eight by NC State.
  • NC State shot 47.0% (31-of-66) from the field.
  • Rice led all scorers with 19 points, including a game-high five 3-pointers.
  • Harris ended his night with 13 points and six rebounds, while Reed netted 10 points to go along with seven rebounds.
  • Batiste led the 'Dogs with seven assists, while Davis finished with eight points and seven rebounds.
  • Johnson led the Wolfpack with a triple-double off 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
  • Daniels led the Pack in scoring with 18 points, including a trio of 3-pointers.

QUOTABLES FROM COACH BAUCOM "We just needed to get closer to the rim (in the first half). The first half, we didn't pierce the dome nearly enough, took some shots a little farther out than we normally like for them to take, but I'm proud of the guys for making the adjustments. I thought the second half, after the first minute, I thought we played really well, a lot more aggressive, came up with a lot more 50-50 balls, made some shots, which allows you to set pressure and allows you to force them into turnovers more. Coach Keatts has a very good team, and Markell Johnson had a triple-double, which isn't easy to do no matter the opponent. He's easily the best point guard we've faced so far, and I thought that (Rudy Fitzgibbons, III) and Tyson did an awesome job on him with as many ball screens as they put us in. I was pleased with our defense and they hit a bit of a prayer there at the end to make it 20, but I'm just really proud of the guys' effort, especially there in the second half."

COMING UP: The Citadel closed out the non-conference portion of the schedule with a 6-5 mark against teams not in the Southern Conference. The Bulldogs will next jump back into league play with a road trip to Samford on Wednesday, Jan. 1. The pair of Bulldog squads will tip off at 3 p.m. Eastern on ESPN+. The 'Dogs will then return home to face Western Carolina on Wednesday, Jan. 4 at 1 p.m. before having a week off.