The Citadel (4-21) at Western Carolina (10-17)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 16th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ramsey Center (7,500) -- Cullowhee, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: The Citadel 3-9, Western Carolina 6-4. Away Record: The Citadel 0-11, Western Carolina 3-12. Neutral Record: The Citadel 1-1, Western Carolina 1-1. Conference Record: The Citadel 1-13, Western Carolina 4-10. Series Record: The Citadel leads 34-26.
GAMES NOTES: Western Carolina and The Citadel will meet up for the first and only time this season when the Bulldogs come to the Ramsey Center for a Southern Conference clash with the Catamounts.
These teams met twice last season and The Citadel was able to stretch its historic advantage to 34-26 by taking both victories, which is part of a five game winning streak for the Bulldogs overall in the series.
The Citadel will not be marking this season down in its history books with much pride as the Bulldogs have stumbled to a miserable 1-13 record in conference play and 4-21 mark overall. Currently the squad is riding a 10-game losing streak that dates back to early January. The Citadel will face another struggling Southern Conference squad when the Bulldogs face 4-10 Chattanooga in their next bout.
Western Carolina has not exactly been piling up wins either. The Catamounts are tied with Chattanooga with a 4-10 mark against conference competition which puts the teams in last place in the North Division. Western Carolina is on a three-game losing streak and after The Citadel will play its final road game of the season against Elon.
There was almost an upset at McAlister Field House when The Citadel pushed Georgia Southern into overtime on Saturday, but the Bulldogs fell by a single point in taking a 73-72 loss on its home court. The Citadel ended regulation on an 8-0 run to force a 69-69 tie and an extra period. The Bulldogs came out and scored the first three points in overtime but couldn't muster anything the rest of the way as their losing streak continued.
For a team that has taken so many losses this season, the Citadel is a decent offensive squad scoring 66.4 points per game while shooting the fourth best percentage in the conference at 43.8. Unfortunately defense has been a big issue with the Bulldogs allowing 74.7 points per game to its opponents on 48.8 percent shooting. Junior center Mike Groselle (16.9 ppg, 9.3 rpg) has been a fantastic individual scorer on a team that struggles to find offense. Groselle is the conferences leading rebounder and second best scorer this season and although he had only 10 points on Saturday has now scored in double figures in 17 straight games. After Groselle, the Bulldogs have not been able to find a consistent second option. Freshman guard Ashton Moore (8.7 ppg) has shown flashes of an ability to fill it up with a 30-point performance this season as well as a 24-point outing against Georgia Southern. However Moore had been held out of double figures in nine straight games before Saturday.
Western Carolina had five players in double figures on Saturday but it didn't matter as the Catamounts were downed 80-66 on the road against Furman. The huge difference came from beyond the arc, as the Paladins outscored the Catamounts 33-6 from three-point range to push their advantage into double digits.
Western Carolina is a bit better both offensively (69.3 ppg) and defensively (70.1 points allowed per game) in comparison to the Bulldogs, but is by no means a top squad in either category in the conference. The Catamounts have not been built on a great deal of ball movement as they hand out a conference low 10.6 assists per game. It was no surprise for the Catamounts to have so many players in double figures against Furman as the squad has four players who have done so consistently this season. Harouna Mutombo (12.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is the primary target and has scored in double figures in three of the last four games. Trey Sumler (12.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.7 apg) has been the team's second option this season and has also been one of the few players who has been able to set his teammates up well. Keaton Cole (11.5 ppg) and Brandon Boggs (10.7 ppg) are the other double-digit scorers for the Catamounts. Western Carolina suffers from a lack of strength in the frontcourt and in depth overall with Tawaski King (7.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg) the only true front line option and no other player scoring more than four points per game.
Despite its lack of depth, Western Carolina has enough balance offensively to out-perform the one-man scoring offense the Bulldogs rely on.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Western Carolina 67, The Citadel 57
02/16 10:36:18 ET