Horgan leads way for Citadel in 81-50 win over Bob Jones

P.J. Horgan has returned from back issues!

P.J. Horgan has returned from back issues!

BY DANNY REED Special to The Post and Courier
Nov 23 2014

Citadel senior forward P.J. Horgan is finally fully healthy for the first time since his freshman campaign. And he could not be happier. The 6-9 powerhouse registered his fourth career double-double – and first since Feb. 23, 2013 – with 23 points and 11 rebounds, as The Citadel shrugged off a bumpy beginning to muzzle Bob Jones University, 81-50, at McAlister Field House on Saturday night. Horgan, who missed the first two months of last season with nagging lower back issues, went 7 of 11 from the field and 9 of 11 from the foul line in pacing The Citadel (2-2) to its fourth straight home win dating back to the end of last season.

Marshall Harris tied a career-best with four 3-pointers as part of a 17-point, four-assist, three-steal effort, while Ashton Moore added 16 points, three assists and a pair of steals. James Island native C.J. Bray contributed a career-high five assists. While the Bulldogs had a 41-34 lead at intermission, nearly half of their shots (14 of 30) came from beyond the arc.

“At halftime, I told them to get me the ball,” said Horgan, who also posted his third career 20-point game. “I thought I needed to get some shots in there to help the offense get going.” It worked. The Dogs shot 55 percent from the field in the second, taking 22 of their 27 shots from two-point territory and took advantage of the Bruins’ foul troubles, canning 82 percent (19-of-23) from the free throw line.

For the second straight game, The Citadel also impressed on the glass, holding a 34-26 edge led by Horgan’s 11, which included 11 offensive boards. Most impressively, the Dogs held the Bruins (3-5) to zero second chance points. “I told our guys that on any given night, anybody can beat anybody and that you’ve got to be ready to play,” said The Citadel head coach Chuck Driesell. “I thought we were ready to play tonight.”

Harris’ layup at the 15:20 mark was part of an 8-0 Citadel run and a 49-38 cushion that pushed the lead to double digits for good. Horgan then scored nine of the Dogs 13 points over a pivotal five-minute stretch in the half to push the margin to 63-42 with 10:29 left. Bob Jones, which shot 50 percent in the first half, could not maintain the hot hand in the second hitting at a 30 percent clip and going 0-for-7 from three-point territory, as The Citadel mixed in a seldom-used 1-3-1 zone on several occasions after halftime in forcing season-best 21 turnovers. “We wanted to change some things up because they were in a rhythm and shooting at a high percentage,” Driesell opined. “I like that as part of our package because sometimes it gets the offense thinking.”

Unable to solve Bob Jones’ early defensive puzzle, the Dogs started 1-of-6 from the field and fell behind 8-2 less than four minutes into the game. The Bulldog offense began to click after the first dead-ball timeout, scoring 13 straight points over a 4:24 stretch for a 15-8 advantage with 11:40 remaining in the half.

Defensively, the Dogs showed a full-court press in forcing a pair of turnovers that resulted in and-ones for Harris and Quinton Marshall, who scored six points in 22 minutes off the bench after missing the Toccoa Falls game on Wednesday with an ankle injury. “I’ve told our guys all year long that our press could help us win some games this year,” Driesell said. “We sped [the Bruins} up and got our guys going at the same time, so I thought it was effective.”

Consecutive threes from Harris and Moore lengthened the lead to 23-14 at the 9:38 mark of the half. Bob Jones refused to go quietly making a majority of its shots with less than 10 second on the shot clock, while the Dogs reliance on the outside shot limited them to just 5-of-14 from distance and 43 percent overall. “I give Bob Jones credit, they slowed the pace down, they played zone which they hadn’t done all year long,” added Driesell. “Once again we didn’t shoot the ball well in the first half to build the type of lead that can pull them out of the zone.”

An 8-1 Bruins run capped by Ray Holden’s layup gave Bob Jones its final lead of the game at 32-31 with 2:43 on the first-half clock. Harris quickly knocked down a three on the other end with 2:25 left to help spark a 10-0 run for a 34-32 Citadel edge. Bob Jones (3-5) was led by Kyle Turner’s 16 points.

The Citadel heads to Tallahassee, Fla. on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. matchup against Florida State in the first clash between the schools since 1999.