GAME NOTES: A good-old fashioned dog fight is on tap in Birmingham for Saturday night, as The Citadel Bulldogs take on the Samford Bulldogs in a Southern Conference matchup at the Pete Hanna Center.
An 89-76 loss at Chattanooga snapped a two-game win streak for The Citadel. With a 3-9 record in SoCon play, the Bulldogs are presently in the basement of the league's South Division.
After dropping a 77-67 decision at home to the College of Charleston, Samford has now lost four straight. The Bulldogs are third in the North Division standings.
On Jan. 12, Samford snapped a five-game losing streak against The Citadel as the team battled to a 69-65 road victory in Charleston. Samford's win proved to be historic as the Bulldogs won in McAlister Fieldhouse for the first time in school history. The Citadel owns a 3-1 record against Samford when playing in Birmingham.
Last time out, Gee McGhee finished with 22 points to lead the Chattanooga Mocs to an 89-76 victory over The Citadel. P.J. Horgan finished with a game-high 25 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs. Mike Groselle added 19 points. Both teams shot over 50 percent for the game, but turnovers were costly for the Bulldogs, as they committed 16 miscues that led to 23 points for the opposition.
On the season, Groselle leads the team with 15.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per tilt, and he is also shooting a team-best 58.5 percent from the floor. Matt Van Scyoc is second on the team with 11.5 ppg, shooting at a 37.9 percent clip from the perimeter. As a team, The Citadel is averaging just 64.3 ppg and letting up 73.6 ppg, both near the bottom of the SoCon rankings. On the plus side, The Citadel is the best shooting team in the conference (.453).
Five Cougars scored in double figures as the College of Charleston defeated Samford, 69-65. Raijon Kelly scored 21 points and dished out eight assists for the Bulldogs in defeat, Clide Geffrard, Jr. and Tyler Hood scored 13 points apiece, and Tim Williams added 11 points and eight rebounds. Samford led 31-26 at intermission after shooting 63.2 percent from the field in the first half. Charleston went 0-of-9 from 3-point range. The Cougars outscored Samford 43-34 in the second half, shooting 56.0 percent from the field. Charleston took the lead midway through the second half never looked back. Although Samford shot 54.3 percent from the field and went 8-of-15 from 3-point range, the Cougars earned a 34-20 rebounding edge which yielded 12 more field goal attempts.
Just a freshman, Williams is a serious contender to win the conference's Newcomer of the Year award as he is averaging team-highs of 14.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, both of which rank in the top-10 in the conference. Kelly is right behind in scoring (14.2 ppg), and Geffrard, Jr. chips in with 10.5 ppg. Samford sits 11th in the league in both scoring offense (61.0 ppg) and scoring defense (68.9 ppg).
Until their last meeting, The Citadel had been dominating this series. Led by the youngster Williams, Samford looks to be on the upswing and should sweep the season series with a narrow victory.
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