Moore leads Citadel over Toccoa Falls

#12 Ashton Moore

#12 Ashton Moore

By Danny Reed Special to The Post and Courier
Nov 19 2014 11:48 pm

Ashton Moore drilled a career-best six 3-pointers en route to a team-best 20 points to lead The Citadel to a 71-58 victory over Toccoa Falls in the Bulldogs’ home opener Wednesday night at McAlister Field House, After starting the season just 2-of-13 from downtown, Moore went 6-of-15 from deep – including 4-of-8 in the first half for 14 points – and dished out four assists and grabbed three rebounds for The Citadel (1-2), which is now 15-2 in its last 17 home openers.
“I was getting up a lot of extra shots during practice, mainly focusing on my catch-and-shoot threes,” said Moore, who now ranks ninth in Citadel history with 136 career triples. “I give all the credit to my teammates, though. They were the ones that gave me the opportunity to take and make those shots.”
P.J. Horgan dumped in a season-high 18 points on 9-of-13 from the field and added seven rebounds while igniting the 1,522 in attendance with four powerful dunks.

Brian White registered his fourth career double-double with 14 points and a career-high-tying 12 rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench, while Marshall Harris contributed a game-high seven assists. “I’m glad for the win, but I thought we could’ve played better on both ends of the floor,” said Citadel head coach Chuck Driesell. “We need to keep working on both ends of the floor if we are going to be successful.”

In a lineup shakeup, sophomore Warren Sledge made his second career start, filling in for Quinton Marshall, who did not play due to a twisted ankle suffered during the Air Force game at West Point, and the early results were good. The Dogs started 6-of-9 from the field for a 16-0 lead, as Toccoa Falls (4-2) missed its first seven shots and did not connect on a field goal until the 12:33 mark of the first half.

The Citadel, though, had difficulty getting inside Toccoa’s matchup 2-3 zone, but Moore’s hot hand forced the defensive focus to the perimeter and allowed The Citadel to control the glass by a 44-27 margin. The Bulldogs collected 18 offensive rebounds, most for the squad since grabbing 19 against Chattanooga on Jan. 6, 2014, helping to remedy an Achilles heel from the All-Military Classic last weekend where The Citadel was out-rebounded by nearly 11 boards per contest.

“That’s awesome. That’s what we are looking for,” said Driesell. “I was pleased with our aggressiveness in getting to the rim, and that’s something we’ve worked a good bit on.”

In the first half, The Citadel held a 22-17 edge on the boards, including eight offensive rebounds that led to seven second-chance points. This helped offset a Bulldog offense that went dry for a 5:14 stretch late in the first half, highlighted by four straight misses and four turnovers, but their tight man-to-man defense held the Screaming Eagles to 30 percent shooting while forcing nine turnovers, which The Citadel turned into 17 points.

Moore drilled 3s on back-to-back possessions to give The Citadel its largest lead at 38-17 with 2:15 remaining in the half, but Toccoa Falls ended the half on a 6-0 run, including a buzzer-beater from Derek Westfall, for a 38-23 halftime score.

Toccoa Falls shot the ball much better in the second half, hitting at a 52 percent clip and eventually getting within single digits at 54-45 following two free throws from Josh Barrett with 6:56 left. Barrett scored a game-high 27 points for the Screaming Eagles, with 20 coming after halftime on 4-of-7 from 3-point territory. “I give Toccoa Falls a lot of credit. They showed me a lot tonight,” added Driesell. “They were very poised, they handled pressure very well and they did not fold when we got up big.”

The Citadel swiftly responded with nine straight points as part of a 15-4 total run keyed by eight straight points from White over the next 4:42, for a comfortable 69-49 cushion. Overall, the Cadets shot 42 percent from the field and 30 percent (8-of-26) from 3-point range, but the significant rebounding margin and scoring 21 points off 15 Screaming Eagle turnovers created a desired end result. “We haven’t shot the ball well enough yet,” said Driesell. “But we are hunting for that highest percentage shot, and I’m OK with that.”

The Citadel plays host to Bob Jones University Saturday at 6 p.m. in the first-ever meeting between the schools.

Notes
The Citadel’s all-new AdArt brand scoreboard made its home basketball debut. The center-hanging scoreboard measures approximately 13 feet high by 23 feet wide and is fully equipped with four widescreen high-definition video displays and smaller display boards placed behind both hoops, with live game stats and in-game replay capabilities. The project was spearheaded by the Class of 1964, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The game was termed a Blue Out, as the first 2,000 fans through the turnstiles received a Citadel basketball T-shirt which also can be worn for free admission for every Saturday home game.
The Lower Richland High School Diamond Dogs High Steppin’ group provided the halftime entertainment with a bevy of crowd-pleasing dance moves and choreography

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