GAME NOTES: The two bottom teams in the Southern Conference meet on Saturday afternoon, as The Citadel Bulldogs come calling on the Furman Paladins.
The Citadel has failed to register a win in conference play this season and lost 14 in a row. The Bulldogs' most recent setback was at home to Wofford, 77-56, last Saturday. They haven't been on the winning end side of a final score since mid-December.
Furman fell to Western Carolina on Monday night, 83-75, marking its fifth loss in a row. The Paladins are second only to The Citadel at the bottom of the SoCon standings, and their only conference win came against the Bulldogs.
This is the 200th meeting between these two programs and is the longest running rivalry in the Southern Conference, dating back to 1920. The Citadel won both meetings last season.
In the loss to Wofford, the Bulldogs were paced by Brian White with 14 points off the bench and Quinton Marshall who contributed 11 points, while Matt Van Scyoc came up a point shy of a double-double as he cleared 12 boards in the team's 14th consecutive setback. The Citadel managed to take the lead in the first minute of play, but from there the Terriers connected on 53.1 percent from the floor, including 5-of-11 behind the 3-point line, in order to take a 45-24 advantage at the break, and the Bulldogs never challenged after that.
White checks in second on the team in scoring, netting an average of 12.3 ppg on 53.5 percent shooting from the floor. Only Van Scyoc has a better scoring rate than White at 15.0 ppg through 35 games. White however, edges out Van Scyoc for the team lead in rebounding, 6.4 rpg to 5.6 rpg. Marshall Harris III leads the Bulldogs with 97 assists. As a collective unit, the Bulldogs are scoring a conference-worst 66.5 ppg while allowing their opponents to net 74.8 ppg, second worst in the league.
The Paladins were led by Stephen Croone and his game-high 27 points, but they still couldn't overcome Western Carolina. Adonis Rwabigwi added 17 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots, followed by Kendrec Ferrara with 12 points and seven boards in the loss. Trailing just a 34-33 at the break, the Paladins allowed WCU to shoot 55.2 percent from the floor in the second half and 12-of-13 at the free-throw line, as WCU pulled away in the second. The Paladins finished the night with 15 turnovers and only 2-of-12 shooting beyond the arc.
On the season, Furman has failed to impress at either end of the court, as it shoots 44.7 percent from the field for just 66.2 ppg, second-worst in the SoCon, while allowing 74.2 ppg on greater than 46 percent shooting to the opposition. It also lives in the red with regard to turnover (-2.6) and rebounding (-2.7). Despite the struggles of most of his teammates, Croone has been outstanding this season with 19.6 ppg on 47.7 percent from the field to go with 3.5 apg. Ferrara tallies 10.5 ppg and 5.3 rpg, and Larry Wideman nets 10.0 ppg, but does so on just 37.4 percent field goal efficiency.
With only pride on the line for these two cellar dwellers, expect the home team to have the advantage with a bit more depth and with the best player on the court in Croone.
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