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Bulldogs Drop Close Game to Western Carolina

The Citadel basketball team fell in the closing seconds to Western Carolina Saturday to drop to...
The Citadel basketball team fell in the closing seconds to Western Carolina Saturday to drop to 0-3 in conference play.(The Citadel Basketball)
Updated: Jan. 4, 2020 at 10:04 PM EST
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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.

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.