CULLOWHEE, N.C. – Freshman Fletcher Abee scored a career-high 28 points and continued his assault on The Citadel's freshman records with seven made 3-pointers, but it was not enough as the Bulldogs fell 96-84 at Western Carolina Saturday night inside the Ramsey Center.
Game InformationLocation: Cullowhee, N.C. (Ramsey Center)
Final Score: Western Carolina 96, The Citadel 84
Records: WCU (17-10, 9-7 SoCon), The Citadel (6-21, 0-16 SoCon)
Series: WCU leads, 43-36
- After Adam Sledd opened the game with the Catamounts' first made 3-pointer close to 1:30 into the action, the Bulldogs began to establish a lead, led by Abee's nine points in the first four minutes of action.
- The Citadel led for right at nine minutes in the early going, including going up by eight, 23-15 after Kaelon Harris hit a pull-up jumper just outside of the paint with 11:09 left.
- After WCU went on a 7-0 spurt to close the gap, Abee hit another of his game-high seven 3-pointers to extend the lead back out to four, 26-22.
- With 6:08 left in the first half, Matt Halvorsen hit one of his team-high five 3-pointers to give the Catamounts the lead back for good.
- The Bulldogs managed to keep the deficit manageable in the closing minutes of the first half, settling for a 39-35 WCU advantage at the intermission.
- The Bulldogs shot well in the first half, connecting on 50.0% (13-of-26) of their looks from the field, while also hitting 46.2% (6-of-13) from beyond the 3-point arc.
- The second half opened with Abee scoring one of his three two-point field goals to cut into the lead, but a 5-0 spurt from WCU extended the lead back out to seven.
- Catamounts was able to establish the first double-digit lead of the game with 15:20 left in regulation when Xavier Cork scored off a dunk, and with 12:43 left, the lead had bloomed to the largest of the game at 15, 61-46.
- However, the Bulldogs showed plenty of fight in the middle portion of the second half, closing to within four, 70-66 after Harris converted an old-fashioned 3-point play on a fast break after Abee came away with a steal. The three points from Harris capped an 8-0 run by the 'Dogs.
- Despite the swing in momentum, the Catamounts were able to extend the lead back out to double digits with a 6-0 run of their own.
- Over the final 5:34, the two teams were nearly equally matched with the Cats barely out-scoring the 'Dogs 20-18 to secure the win.
- The Bulldogs ended the game shooting 46.7% (28-of-60) from the field, including 44.1% (15-of-34) from beyond the arc.
- The Catamounts converted 47.8% (32-of-67) of their looks from the field, including 36.4% (12-of-33) from long range.
- The 'Dogs converted all 13 of their free throw attempts, including seven by Harris.
- Abee led all scorers with 28 points, including a game-high seven made treys. The freshman from Morganton, North Carolina added three rebounds, two steals and an assist.
- Harris was the second Bulldog to score at least 20, finishing his night with 22 to go along with five rebounds, three steals and two assists.
- Tyson Batiste was the final Bulldog in double figures, chipping in 17 points to go along with a team-high six rebounds and six assists. Batiste added two blocks and a steal, and went 4-for-5 (.800) from 3-point range. The four made 3-pointers were one off his career high.
- Carlos Dotson led the Catamounts with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Halvorsen added 21 points, including five made treys.
- Freshmen Rudy Fitzgibbons, III and Brady Spence each made their first collegiate starts Saturday night.
- The Bulldogs started three freshmen Saturday night between Abee, Fitzgibbons and Spence. Four different freshmen Bulldogs have started this season.
- The 13-of-13 outing at the free throw line marked the sixth time in program history the Bulldogs went 100% from the charity stripe in a Southern Conference game. The last time was an 18-for-18 outing at home against ETSU on Feb. 26, 2015.
- Abee (28 points) and Harris (22) both eclipsed 20 points scored, marking the first time two Bulldogs have scored at least 20 points in the same game since Harris and Kaiden Rice did so at Longwood earlier this season (Dec. 19).
- Abee's 28 points mark a career high for the freshman, surpassing his previous high of 27 set at home against Piedmont (Dec. 10).
- Abee has now scored 335 points, moving him up to seventh in program history for points scored by a freshman. He is 11 points away from a two-way tie for sixth between Warren McLendon (2004-05) and Rodeny McKeever (1973-74).
- With his seven made 3-pointers Saturday night, Abee improved his season total to 74, jumping up to third in program history for 3-pointers made by a freshman. He is just three away from Preston Parks (2016-17) in second and five away from Austin Dahn (2007-08) in first.
- Abee's seven made 3-pointers are tied for 12th most in a single game by a Bulldog overall. They are also tied for 10th for 3-pointers made against an NCAA Division I opponent.
- Abee's 74 made 3-pointers this season rank 12th in program history for made 3-pointers in a single season.
- With his 22 points at Western Carolina, Harris has now scored 892 career points. He is tied for 45th in program history for career points scored.
- Harris eclipsed the 500-rebound mark with five Saturday night, giving him 504 for his career. Harris boasts 345 career defensive rebounds, a mark that has him 12th in program history. Harris boasts 137 defensive rebounds this season, 11th most in program history.
- For the first time in his career, Derek Webster, Jr. has swatted away at least one shot in three straight games. Saturday night, Webster recorded his third multi-block game of the season with two.
- With his one blocked shot Saturday night at Western Carolina, Spence moved up to tie ninth in program history for blocked shots by a freshman with 20.
The Bulldogs return home on Wednesday, Feb. 26 for the home finale against Mercer. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m. The ‘Dogs will then travel to Furman on Saturday, Feb. 29 for a 4 p.m. game.
SENIOR DAY – WEDNESDAY, FEB. 26