GAME NOTES: Cross-town rivals are set to do battle at McAlister Field House on Sunday afternoon, as the Citadel Bulldogs play host to the College of Charleston Cougars.
Charleston had been on the upswing with wins in three of its previous four games before its latest contest at home versus Kent State on Dec. 21, where it fell in a low-scoring affair, 58-54. The Cougars are now 5-7 on the season, including 1-1 in true road games.
As for the Citadel, it has largely struggled this season, sitting with a lackluster 4-9 record. The Bulldogs most recently had a tough road matchup with Nebraska on Dec. 21, falling by a 77-62 final for their fifth loss in the past seven games. However, the good news is that, while they are 0-8 in road and neutral-court contests, they have performed well on their home floor (4-1).
Charleston holds a 51-39 advantage in the storied all-time series with the Citadel, which includes wins in six straight meetings.
The Cougars were locked up in a tight battle with Kent State in their most recent game, but while they were able to tie the game for the 10th time with 1:31 left on a pair of Canyon Barry free throws, they could not take control down the stretch. They shot themselves in the foot with poor showings from the field (.391), 3-point range (.133) and the foul line (.552) while also committing a game-high 21 turnovers. Willis Hall tallied 14 points and nine rebounds, while Anthony Thomas chipped in 13 points and eight boards.
Charleston has made a habit of poor scoring performances this season, as it shoots a lousy 41.1 percent from the floor for 61.5 points per game, which all but ruins its impressive scoring defense (64.1 ppg). It also has trouble taking care of the basketball, owning a -3.0 turnover margin. Barry (10.5 ppg) and Adjehi Baru (10.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg) are the only players in double figures, but Hall (9.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg), Anthony Stitt (9.6 ppg) and Joe Chealey (8.3 ppg) are all in the neighborhood.
Although the Citadel went into halftime of its latest game tied up with Nebraska, it quickly lost control of the contest in the second half, getting outshot from the field by the Cornhuskers over the final 20 minutes, 62.5 percent to 35.7 percent. It was also plagued by 17 turnovers and were outscored at the foul line, 22-10. Ashton Moore shined in spite of the setback, pouring in 21 points, while Brian White and Matt Van Scyoc netted 11 points apiece.
On the season, the Bulldogs have been able to put up impressive scoring numbers (72.7 ppg), but unfortunately their defense is not strong enough to support the shooting attack, as they allow 75.6 points per game. To make matters worse, they also boast negative margins in terms of rebounding (-1.5) and turnovers (-1.6). Van Scyoc (15.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and White (15.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg) are the top scoring options, with Van Scyoc doing a large chuck of his damage from 3-point range (23-of-67) and the foul line (54-of-60), while White shoots 57.5 percent from the floor. Marshall Harris III (10.4 ppg) runs the point and has twice as many assist (52) as turnovers (26).
Even though the Citadel has not played well at all over the past few weeks, a return to its home floor will be more than welcomed for a squad that has impressed at McAlister Field House. Charleston's lackluster offensive attack likely won't be able to keep up with the Bulldogs in this one.
Game Date and Time