The Citadel blows out Western Carolina, 68-46
CHARLESTON, SC - CHARLESTON, S.C.- The Citadel Basketball team extended their winning streak to three consecutive games behind Cameron Wells' game-high 27 points in front of 2,143 in attendance at McAlister Field House. Fellow senior Austin Dahn also reached double figures, scoring 13 points, to become the third player on the current squad to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau. Mike Groselle rounded out double-digit scorers with 15 points for the Cadets who had another solid outing from the floor, hitting 25-of-43 (58.1%).
Wells continued on his scoring tear with 19 or more points in each of the last four games, hitting 9-of-13 from the floor and a perfect 2-of-2 from beyond the arc against WCU. The senior guard also managed perfection (7-7) from the charity stripe, joining backcourt teammate Zach Urbanus who was 4-of-4. Groselle powered past the Catamounts defense to hit 7-of-9 field goal attempts, highlighting a post game that finished with 24 points in the paint. Dahn completed the trio by converting 5-of-6 field goals, hitting a pair from beyond the arc, and tied Groselle for a team-high six rebounds. Urbanus was the catalyst to the offense with six assists, while Wells was instrumental on the defensive end with four steals. The victory moves The Citadel to 8-13 overall and 4-5 in the Southern Conference.
Harouna Mutombo finished as the only Western Carolina player in double figures with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting. He was followed by starters Trey Sumler (nine points), Mike Williams (eight points) and fellow reserve Keaton Cole who tallied seven points. Sumler snatched a game-high seven boards, finishing with two on the offensive glass. Held to 3-of-18 (16.7%) from beyond the arc, WCU struggled from field goal range (17-56, 30.4%).
"Tonight we did some really good things on the court, but most importantly we held a very good team to 30 percent from the field and 15 points in the first half," said Bulldogs head coach Chuck Driesell following the game. "Western Carolina was averaging 68.6 points per game and our guys came in and knew that they wanted to keep them in the sixties. We thought that our defense would win the game for us and we came out and put a good first half defensively on the board."
Building a 43-15 lead at the intermission, The Citadel closely matched Western Carolina in scoring in the start of the second half. Wells, who scored four points over the first 5:23, combined with Dahn and Groselle to give the Bulldogs a 52-23 lead.
Williams scored six of the Catamounts 18 points during a run that took 7:32 off the clock to pull within 57-41 of The Citadel. Williams hit a 3-pointer and took advantage of an old fashion three point play when he drew a foul by Dahn to make for the slimmest margin of the half.
The Citadel broke through with a layup by Wells and after drawing a foul from Williams, Dahn knocked down the front of a one-and-one to make for career benchmark 1,000th point with 5:28 remaining. The Dogs hit six free throws over the next 4:15 of the contest to make for the 66-44 lead. Senior John Reynolds capped off Citadel scoring with a turnaround jumper from the baseline with 18 seconds remaining for the 68-46 final.
"Austin has worked extremely hard, just as did Cameron and Zach, and I am very happy for both him and his family. He played an excellent game tonight, hitting 5-of-6 from the field, mainly because he didn't take any tough shots without guys hanging in his face. He has been looking at some film of missed shots and it is not because he can't make it, but rather it's because he taking tough shots. Tonight he was very patient and I know that he will grow from that experience."
For the third straight half, dating back to Thursday's meeting against Appalachian State, the Bulldogs shot 60-pecent or better (67.9%), converting 19-of-28 from the floor. Wells pumped in 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field, along with a pair of 3-pointers. He was joined in double figures by Groselle (10 points), while Dahn managed 4-of-4 from the floor, including a trey, to close with nine points at the intermission.
Falling behind early, 4-0, the Cadets responded with a 13-2 run highlighted by seven points from Wells to assume a 13-6 lead. Mutombo broke a 3:05 drought when he knocked down a 3-pointer for the Catamounts. The Citadel retaliated by hitting six of the game's next seven shots, including a pair of 3-pointers by Eykyn and Dahn, over a three minute span to take a 27-10 lead.
The Bulldogs followed a Gordon layup with four straight buckets, including a pair by Wells, to assume the 36-12 advantage. The Citadel closed out the first half with points by Dahn, Groselle and Wells to take a 43-15 lead at the intermission. The 15 points is the fewest first half points allowed by The Citadel this season, breaking an earlier mark of 20 points scored by Georgia Southern on Dec. 2.
The Citadel returns to action on Jan. 26 at Davidson, when they open up the rotation of Southern Conference play at Belk Arena at 7 p.m.
- Earlier this season teammate Zach Urbanus moved into 1,000-point list when he scored 16 points against James Madison (Nov. 20). Dahn joins Urbanus (1,198), Demetrius Nelson (1,264) and Cameron Wells (1,854) as the 15th set of teammates with 1,000 career points to play alongside each other. Further, they become the second quartet of teammates in Bulldog history with 1,000 points to take to the court since 2002 when Travis Cantrell, Alan Puckett, Cliff Washburn and Michael Joseph accomplished the feat.
Courtesy: The Citadel Sports Information