Game #9-263: Western Carolina Catamounts at The Citadel BulldogsJanuary 5, 2013 7:05 pm
McAlister Field House
Saturday nights in the Lowcountry are very busy ones. You can go to the movies; you can go to the local bar to enjoy some grub; if the Stingrays (our local hockey team) is home, you can enjoy a game for a cheap price; or you can go out on the town.
Earlier Saturday, I was at the Furman/College of Charleston game downtown at TD Arena. The arena has lights when the players come out; stats on the scoreboard where you can track free throw and field goal percentage, along with rebounds and turnovers; a video board, and is one of the most modern arenas in the Southeast.
McAlister Field House is less than ten minutes away, even with traffic. This arena, though, is a much different experience than TD Arena.
This was my first Citadel basketball game of the season. They were home for several dates in November, but before this game, the Bulldogs hadn't played in their home arena since November 24 (the day of the Clemson/South Carolina game).
Since starting the season 3-1 with a win over VMI and two wins over non-D1 competition, the Dogs had lost seven straight games, including blowouts to Clemson and Georgia Tech. They had one of the lowest RPIs in the country; and had lost one of their best post players, C.J. Bray (one of my classmates at my high school) for most of the season for calcium deposits in his ankles.
If you read Sandlapper Spike's blog, The Sports Arsenal, there is more information about the team and the arena, along with other topics.
The Citadel, already a short-handed team, had to burn the redshirt of P.J. Horgan, and freshman Raemond Robinson of Goose Creek High got his first action.
I got to the arena late because the Furman/CofC game went long. When I got my way out of the parking garage and drove my way over to McAlister, it was already halftime. I parked only a couple hundred feet from the arena.
For the second year in a row, I got to halftime during Lowcountry Shag Night. This was filled with couples, along with people learning how to shag.
This game had the largest crowd of a Citadel basketball game so far this season; 1,247. It was mostly a Citadel gathering; Western Carolina did have a group of a couple of dozen coming from Cullowhee.
This included the family of Preston Ross. I saw Preston last year when Western played CofC at TD Arena. They put him on the video board during the game; and the students were ragging on him for being too loud. He dressed up for this one, wearing a full suit (no tie) with his family.
I talked about basketball with him for a couple minutes, and he was hoping to see me the next time Western plays the College of Charleston. However, CofC does not host Western Carolina this year; and most likely never will again unless they play in a non-conference game.
The Bulldogs cut into the deficit in the second half, briefly cutting the lead to six points before Western came back with a vengeance.
McAlister Field House is an arena that hasn't changed much since its renovation in 1989. It still has the same ad for Diet Coke that hasn't changed in at least a decade, probably longer. The scoreboard hasn't been replaced, and the message board died a few seasons ago.
The Citadel still has a core of diehard fans who go to every game, mostly older alumni and families. It is usually the same season ticket holders that I've seen since I was a little kid.
This game went along at an amazing pace. With not that many fouls being called, Western clinched a 72-55 victory in just one hour and thirty-five minutes. The game started at 7:05; it was over by 8:40. I've been to high school games this season that have gone on longer. The Citadel is now 0-2 in the conference, before hosting Chattanooga Thursday night. Western Carolina, after defeating Warren Wilson Monday, will host UNC-Greensboro on Saturday.
There was a sight that was memorable about this game. This was a sight you don't see outside many college basketball games, at any level. A new Lamborghini. Outside a mid-major basketball arena.
WESTERN CAROLINA 72, at THE CITADEL 55
WESTERN CAROLINA 5-9 (3-0) -- T. Sumler 6-15 4-4 17; T. King 3-8 3-4 9; T. Tankelewicz 5-10 0-0 14; B. Boggs 4-8 2-2 10; J. Sinclair 2-5 0-0 4; P. Ross 5-7 1-4 11; M. Brown 1-3 0-0 3; J. Mendenhall 1-1 0-0 2; K. Hall 0-0 0-0 0; R. Harrelson 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 27-57 12-16 72.
THE CITADEL 3-9 (0-2) -- M. Groselle 4-5 0-0 8; M. Harris III 2-7 4-4 10; A. Moore 2-8 0-0 5; Q. Marshall 2-5 0-0 4; M. Van Scyoc 2-8 0-0 5; S. Elmore 1-2 0-0 2; D. Setzekorn 1-3 1-2 3; J. Jenkins 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 15-40 5-6 39.
Three-point goals: WCU 6-15 (T. Tankelewicz 4-9; T. Sumler 1-3; B. Boggs 0-1; J. Sinclair 0-1; M. Brown 1-1), CITA 4-17 (M. Harris 2-4; A. Moore 1-6; Q. Marshall 0-2; M. Van Scyoc 1-5); Rebounds: WCU 30 (P. Ross 10), CITA 12 (P. Horgan 8); Assists: WCU 12 (T. Sumler 6), CITA 12 (M. Groselle 3); Total Fouls -- WCU 10, CITA 12; Fouled Out: WCU-None; CITA-None.