GAME NOTES: The Citadel Bulldogs, suddenly riding a three-game win streak following their victory in the first round, will try to keep the good times rolling when they take on the Wofford Terriers in the second round of the 2014 Southern Conference Tournament at U.S. Cellular Center.
Prior to winning its last two games of the regular season and its first round- matchup with UNC Greensboro, the 11th-seeded Bulldogs had just four wins all season. They are now 7-25, with the victory in the first round their only one to come away from their home floor.
Wofford rattled off nine straight victories from Jan. 20 to Feb. 20, but lost its footing during the home stretch of the regular season, losing two of three to close out the campaign. The Terriers still finished at 17-12 overall and with an 11-5 league ledger, which was good enough to earn them a bye in the opening round of this tournament.
Both meetings of the regular season between these teams went to Wofford. The Terriers survived in overtime (79-75) on Jan. 9, and then rolled to a 77-56 triumph at home on Feb. 8. They own a 48-45 lead in the all-time series, with the winner this time moving on to battle the winner of the quarterfinal-round bout between Georgia Southern and Chattanooga.
Ashton Moore netted 24 points and Matt Van Scyoc added 20, as The Citadel stunned UNCG in an 86-76 final in Friday's first round. The Bulldogs drained 52 percent of their shots from the floor, including 10-of-19 from 3-point range, while allowing the Spartans to connect on only 2-of-12 from distance.
Such an efficient shooting performance was not the norm this season for the Bulldogs, who average 67.5 ppg on 43.1 percent shooting. However, they have averaged 82.3 ppg and connected on 53.2 percent of their field goal tries during their current winning streak. Van Scyoc (14.6 ppg) and Moore (13.8 ppg, 3.6 apg) have been at the forefront of the offensive attack and have elevated their game down the stretch. Van Scyoc has scored at least 19 points in the last three games, and Moore has netted at least 20 in four of the last six. Brian White (11.3 ppg) can also be relied on as a scoring threat.
The Terriers' last bout of the regular season resulted in a 73-71 home loss to UNC Greensboro. Wofford, which led by as many as 15 points in that contest, allowed the Spartans to sink a sizzling 78.3 percent of their shots from the field in the second half en route to the heartbreaking loss. Spencer Collins scored 15 points to pace the losing side.
During the season Wofford never really impressed on the offensive end of the floor. The Terriers were only the ninth-best scoring team in the SoCon (67.9 ppg), although they did shoot a solid 45 percent from the floor. Part of the reason for the limited offensive production is the slower tempo the team prefers, as it did just fine defensively, allowing 63.3 ppg to its opponents. Karl Cochran (15.2 ppg) leads a group of three double-digit scorers, with Collins (13.4 ppg) and Lee Skinner (11.7 ppg, 8.6 rpg) following close behind. Cochran was the only other player to reach double figures in the loss to UNCG, but his 12 points came on 16 field goal attempts.
The Bulldogs appear to have flipped a switch over the last few games, so they can no longer be dismissed as little more than an aferthought. However, Wofford was more consistent all season long, and should be able to put an end to the Bulldogs' recent string of success.
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