The last TV appearance of the hoops season, unless…

It’s not often I get to post about a 14-point victory in SoCon play, but last night The Citadel pummelled Western Carolina in the second half en route to a 66-52 victory.  It’s easy to win games by double digits when you shoot 70% from the field in a half. 


I thought the key to the run, though, was John Brown’s spirited play.  He seemed to get every rebound and loose ball during the second half.  He also just missed on what would have been a SportsCenter-worthy jam; I suspect he’ll get teased by his teammates (and Ed Conroy) for that.  Good effort all around, though.  17 assists on 26 made baskets is a very good ratio.  The pace was solid (62 possessions), and the Bulldogs outrebounded WCU, which was a bit of a surprise.  Jonathan Brick made two three-pointers; that’s as many as he had made all season.


Congrats to Demetrius Nelson for being the 25th member of the 1000-point club at The Citadel, which is a testament to his perseverance as much as it is to his talent. 


With the win The Citadel moved to 4-4 in league play.  It’s been six years since the Bulldogs had a .500 record or better in the conference after eight games.  (It’s also been six years since The Citadel won more than four conference games in a season.) 


The one negative was the large number of turnovers (18).  Most of them came in the first half and, in retrospect, kept the Catamounts in the game.  The Bulldogs have to avoid committing turnovers.  They aren’t going to shoot that well every night.  At least in this game they avoided the first half blues that had plagued them recently.


Speaking of that, The Citadel was coming off a tough loss at Wofford where the Bulldogs had trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half before mounting a furious comeback, actually taking the lead briefly.  The Citadel could not maintain the momentum, however, and eventually lost by three.   That was another 62-possession game, which I was glad to see (although Wofford doesn’t run-and-gun at all, so it was also an expected total).  The Citadel had struggled in the first half against Furman too, but recovered to win that game in OT (it helps that the Paladins are horrendous).


Wofford’s not a bad club at all, but last night Georgia Southern clubbed them in Statesboro.  I’m not sure what to make of that, other than Junior Salters must have done too much celebrating against The Citadel, because he went 3-14 from the field against GSU.  That means that third place in the SoCon South Division is a three-way tie, with The Citadel and Georgia Southern both 4-4 in league play and Wofford at 3-3.  Davidson leads the division, of course; sitting in second place is Bobby Cremins’ crew from the College of Charleston, which is 7-1 in the league (losing only to Davidson) and 15-3 overall, including a win over South Carolina. 


As it happens, The Citadel will host the CofC at McAlister Field House on Saturday afternoon.  It’s going to be televised by SportSouth, the third and final time the Bulldogs will be featured on TV this season, unless the Bulldogs were to advance to the Southern Conference tournament semi-finals for only the second time in the last 24 seasons.  That would be…different.


The Cougars are one of the country’s better offensive squads, averaging 1.113 points per possession (17th nationally).  They shoot well from the field, whether inside or outside (38% from three-land), and take good care of the basketball.  The only thing offensively that qualifies as a weakness is their free throw shooting (65.9%).  Currently five College of Charleston players are averaging double-figure scoring, led by guard Andrew Goudelock (who is shooting 48.5% from beyond the arc).


Defensively the Cougars aren’t nearly as impressive.  CofC opponents are shooting 46% from the field.  Also, the Cougars are not a good rebounding team.  The College of Charleston is averaging over four blocked shots per game, however, and leads the SoCon in that category.


I would guess that at least 5000 people will be in attendance at McAlister on Saturday, including a goodly number of cadets.  It should be a great atmosphere.  I just hope the game is as good.

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