Bulldogs Drop Close Game to Western Carolina

Bulldogs Drop Close Game to Western Carolina
The Citadel basketball team fell in the closing seconds to Western Carolina Saturday to drop to 0-3 in conference play. (Source: The Citadel Basketball)

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Citadel basketball team went toe-to-toe with a team on the rise Saturday afternoon, but ultimately came up just short down the stretch as the Bulldogs fell to Western Carolina, 86-82, helped by three Catamounts free throws in the final 25 seconds.

VIDEO: Bulldogs Drop Close Game to Western Carolina

Game Information

Final Score: Western Carolina 86, The Citadel 82

Records: WCU (10-3, 2-0 SoCon), The Citadel (6-8, 0-3 SoCon)

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

Series: WCU leads, 42-36

KEY STATS

  • The Citadel controlled the opening tip and opened the game with a layup from Tyson Batiste.
  • The Bulldogs and Catamounts went back-and-forth for the entire game, including in the opening 2:30 as the game was knotted 9-all.
  • The Citadel managed to go on a quick 7-0 spurt to open up some breathing room, spurred by a Kaiden Rice 3-pointer and capped with a layup from Rice, but Western Carolina managed to close the gap to within one, 23-22 after Travion McCray converted a pair of free throws with 11:49 to play in the opening half.
  • Onno Steger gave the Cats the lead back with 8:25 to go in the period when he hit a layup off an assist from Carlos Dotson, and with 7:02 left in the half, Kameron Gibson made it a five-point, 38-33 game with a trey.
  • The game remained close in the closing minutes of the half with The Citadel building up a four-point 51-47 lead with 30 seconds to go, but Steger converted a pair of free throws to pull the Cats to within two, 51-49 at the intermission.
  • Rice opened the second half by extending the lead back out to four with a layup less than a minute in, but nearly a minute and a half in, Western Carolina's Steger made it a one-point, 54-53 Catamount lead with a 3-pointer.
  • Batiste gave the Bulldogs the lead back on the next possession, and spurred a 9-2 run for The Citadel to open another six-point lead with 16:35 left in regulation.
  • Western Carolina managed to eat into the lead and keep it close, and with 11:22 left, Mason Faulkner gave the Cats the lead back with a layup to set the score at 65-64.
  • With 7:48 left in the second half, Batiste hit a free throw to once again tie the game, this time at 70-all, and a little while later, Brady Spence gave the Bulldogs the lead back with a dunk to set the score at 72-70 with 7:45 to play.
  • With nearly six minutes left in regulation, Faulkner gave the Catamounts a six-point, 78-72 lead with a free throw, but Eddie Davis, III and Alex Reed pulled the 'Dogs back to within one, 78-77 with 3:46 left to play.
  • With 55 seconds remaining, Fletcher Abee hit one of his team-high three 3-pointers to give The Citadel a one-point, 82-81 lead, but the Cats closed the game out with a 5-0 run, including a layup from Dotson and free throws from Dotson and Faulkner, to secure the win.
  • The Bulldogs shot a blistering 61.1% (22-of-36) in the first half and ended the game shooting 50.0% (34-of-68) from the field, but connected on just 28.6% (8-of-28) of their 3-point attempts.
  • Western Carolina shot 46.8% (29-of-62) from the field for the game, including converting 15 of their 34 3-point attempts (.441).
  • The different proved to be free throws as the Catamounts shot 65.0% (13-of-20) from the charity stripe compared to just 40.0% (6-of-15) for the Bulldogs.
  • Abee and Batiste led the Bulldogs in scoring with 18 points each. The 18 points marked a career high for Batiste. Batiste added six assists and five rebounds.
  • Rice ended the game with 13 points, while Davis contributed 10.
  • Spence recorded his third multi-block game of the season with a pair of blocks against the Catamounts. The freshman added eight points and five boards.
  • Steger led all players with 28 points, including a game-high eight triples.
  • Dotson ended the game with a double-double off 10 points and 10 rebounds.

COMING UP

The Citadel will be off for a week to prepare for a road game at Wofford on Saturday, Dec. 11. Tipoff in Spartanburg is slated for 7 p.m.