Dogs lose a close one in Cullowhee with UNCG Spartans up Next

#44 P.J. Horgan got his 6th double/double in Cullowhee Saturday

#44 P.J. Horgan got his 6th double/double in Cullowhee Saturday

HORGAN POSTS SIXTH DOUBLE-DOUBLE IN SETBACK TO WCU

CULLOWHEE, N.C. – A 20-8 run by Western Carolina to open the second half proved to be the difference as the Catamounts earned their seventh consecutive victory over The Citadel, 78-70, in Saturday afternoon Southern Conference action at the Ramsey Center.

Clinging to a slim one point halftime lead, the Catamounts (6-8, 1-1 SoCon) bolted out to a 57-44 advantage behind six points from Justin Browning and four off the hand of James Sinclair. The Citadel (5-7, 0-2 SoCon) retaliated by scoring six of the next 10 points, highlighted by a 3-pointer from Jake Wright, to pull within nine with 8:12 left in the contest.

Western Carolina capitalized on points in the paint by Sinclair and Torrian Brummitt to push the lead back to 12 just over two minutes later. Ashton Moore brought the Bulldog bench to its feet when he stroked a 3-pointer and Jake Wright added a long distance shot three possessions later as the two teams were separated by a 67-62 margin.

A pair of unanswered Western Carolina scores stretched the lead back to 10, before a late Citadel push that included four points by P.J. Horgan trimmed the deficit to 72-66 with 1:07 left. Aggressive defense, combined with three Moore free throws, made for a three point lead with 34 seconds remaining. However, the Bulldogs were unable to pull any closer as WCU posted its sixth win of the season.

Sinclair knocked down 7-of-14 from the floor and added six free throws to lead five Catamounts in double figures with 22 points. Also topping the double-digit mark for Western Carolina was Rhett Harrelson (15), Browning (15), Brummitt (14) and Mike Brown (10). WCU capped off the game hitting 27-of-57 (47.4%) from the floor and was successful on 19-of-23 (82.6%) at the free throw line. The Catamounts finished with a 34-24 edge in points in the paint and capitalized on 19 Citadel free throws by outscoring the Dogs 22-8.

The Citadel was led individually in scoring by the trio of Horgan (21), Moore (14) and Wright (14). Horgan returned to form as he finished 6-of-8 from the field and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds (five offensive) to post the sixth double-double of his career. The Cadets had their third-best shooting performance of the season (51.2%) as they hit a combined 21-of-41 from the floor. Along with controlling the glass (32-23), The Citadel also enjoyed success at the free throw line as it hit 22-of-28 (78.6%) on the afternoon.

Horgan was the catalyst to a highly efficient Citadel offense in the first half as he closed with 13 points by hitting 4-of-5 from the floor and 5-of-6 at the free throw line. His double-digit performance led a Bulldog unit that closed the opening frame hitting 12-of-19 (63.2%) from the field and 9-of-12 (75%) at the charity stripe.

Another key in the Cadets’ first half was the offensive production of Brian White, who in his first start of the season emerged with nine points on 3-of-4 from the floor. Coupled with Horgan, White highlighted a Citadel inside presence that accounted for 16 points in the paint. The Citadel capitalized on three layups and a Horgan dunk inside the first four minutes of the contest to open up a 12-9 lead. Western Carolina responded with a 12-5 run, highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers by Harrelson and Sinclair, taking a 21-17 lead with just under 13 minutes remaining.

Moore answered with a 3-pointer from the left wing, trimming the lead to one, but the Catamounts stretched their advantage back to five following timely scores by Justin Browning and Kenneth Hall. Three points each by Horgan and Moore sparked a 6-0 run by the Dogs who moved in front 29-27 with 6:43 remaining. The two teams traded baskets for the remainder of the half as WCU grabbed a four point lead, 35-31, at one stage, only to be separated by one point at the intermission.

Bulldog Coach Chuck Driesell was very matter of fact about the tough loss: “We were a different team in the second half. We were not as dialed in, and I do not know why. That got us in a hole.”

The Bulldogs are now 5-8 overall, and 0-2 in the conference, play UNC Greensboro at 7:00pm in North Carolina tonight, and next they host Samford in McAlister Field House this Thursday evening at 7:00pm.

The Citadel continues its road swing through the Southern Conference when it heads to UNCG on Monday for a 7 p.m. meeting with the Spartans at the Greensboro Coliseum. The Bulldogs have dropped 4 of their last 5 games, and desperately need a win if they are going to make a run this year. Tonight’s game is one The Citadel could / should win vs. a conference opponent on the road. The clock has begun and the time to start winning will be from now on every time they take the court. Tipoff is at 7:00pm with radio coverage only.

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