It’s nice to be road warriors instead of road kill

On January 6, 2007, The Citadel won at Wofford, 74-71.  That was actually the Bulldogs’ second straight road win, having defeated Elon 53-50 three days before.  It would be the last time The Citadel won a road game…until last night.

The Bulldogs had lost 20 consecutive road games, but Tuesday night at the North Charleston Coliseum, The Citadel led throughout the entire second half and eventually outlasted Charleston Southern, 84-80.  The Bulldogs had a strong offensive showing, scoring those 84 points on 71 possessions, led by a superb game from Cameron Wells  (26 points, 11 rebounds, and only one turnover in 38 minutes).  The Citadel generally took good care of the basketball (with one area of exception – I’ll mention that later) and did a reasonable job of controlling the pace of the game. 

Shot selection was a major part of that, as the Bulldogs did not rely quite as heavily on the three-pointers as they have had a tendency to do (although the percentage of made threes was excellent).  The longer the offensive possession for the Bulldogs, the better off they were.  The Citadel also got to the foul line with regularity and converted those opportunities (84% FT).

Defensively, The Citadel did just enough to win, although there are still issues to address.  Down the stretch the Bulldogs committed a few silly fouls, allowing CSU to score points while the clock was stopped.  The three-point defense was actually pretty good.  With the way Jamarco Warren has been shooting so far this season, holding him to 4-9 shooting from beyond the arc isn’t that bad, and his teammates combined to go 3-11.  In general the Bucs didn’t shoot well, but almost made up for it with all those free throws (both teams did a great job shooting foul shots).    

The Citadel also struggled a bit with inbounding the basketball.  CSU put its 6’10” center, Billy Blackmon, on the baseline to guard the inbounds passer on made free throws and other dead-ball situations, and the Bulldogs seemed to have a hard time dealing with his size.  That’s something that is correctable, though, with instruction.  

I’ll say this (as I look around for a handy piece of balsa or oak):  it’s not a bad thing at all to root for a team that can actually make free throws, particularly down the stretch of a tight game.  I could get used to that.

Last year The Citadel beat Charleston Southern on November 26.  Its next (and final) win against a Division I opponent came on February 14, against Western Carolina.  Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again.  The Bulldogs’ next opportunity to win a game will be Saturday in the Cancun Challenge, with the game actually in Cancun this time.  The opponent is Central Arkansas.  No word on whether Scottie Pippen will be cheering on his old school.

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