Game #9-335: The Citadel Bulldogs at Charleston CougarsJanuary 24, 2013 7:00 pm
Carolina First Center
The College of Charleston and The Citadel have been rivals in the Southern Conference for fourteen years. The two schools have been intertwined with each other for a much longer period, but the rivalry ramped up in 1999 when the College of Charleston joined the SoCon.
Before that, The Citadel and the College of Charleston only played one time each year, eventually moving to twice a year in the late 1990s. The game rotated between McAlister Field House and John Kresse Arena. The rivalry was very fierce. In 1998, The Citadel won 64-63 in front of over 5,200 at McAlister. They were down four with eight seconds left, but Jamie Jenkins made a 3 to cut the deficit to one, and then Sedric Webber (one of the best players in CofC history) stepped on the end line to give the Bulldogs the ball with :02 left.
Virgil Stevens made a off-balance jumper at the buzzer to stun CofC. The cadets stormed the court. The last sell-out at McAlister was a 1999 game between a ranked CofC and the Bullodgs.
Both teams have had great moments in the rivalry at CofC. The Citadel beat them two years in a row in 2009 and 2010 at Carolina First Arena, led by Zach Urbanus. In the next two seasons, CofC matched them. They won by 22 and 20 points respectively, defending their home court. A summary of last season's meeting can be found on the Mid-Majority page.
This game on Thursday night would be a historic one. It would be the last time that The Citadel and the College of Charleston battled in a conference game, unless they happen to meet in the Southern Conference tournament. The Post and Courier on Thursday had a rundown of the top five games between the two rivals since 1999; the game ten days earlier on January 14 was rated as the third best since '99.
The local TV stations were all over the angle of the final SoCon game. Since the game started at 7pm, they could get their live shots for their 6pm news. Channel 5 in Charleston, the CBS here, did a live shot with one of their sports anchors, Kevin Bilodeau, for the 5pm news, and another for their 6pm sportscast. Channel 4, the ABC, had their sports director, John Nugent, anchor the 6pm sports from behind our student section.
The students were in the background, and were loud even during their sportscasts. The crowd left something to be desired; there were about 1,000 empty seats, which is not the usual during a rivalry like this. There were a few empty student seats, but most of the empty seats were in the upper deck.
The game was an interesting one. CofC controlled play during most of the first half, but couldn't keep the plucky Bulldogs, who had just upset Georgia Southern in Statesboro the Saturday before after they had beat Davidson and CofC there, out of the game. After CofC had a quick 10-2 start, led by two consecutive 3s by Andrew Lawrence, it looked like we were going to have a blowout on our hands. Instead, The Citadel kept themselves in the game.
At all four first-half media timeouts (every four minutes), the Bulldogs kept the game close. It was within five or six points for most of the half. The turning point of the game was late in the first half. With two minutes left, the Bulldogs had cut the lead to four at 24-20, and had the ball. A make here could have cut the deficit to two or even one, and might have changed the game.
Instead, Mike Groselle turned the ball over, and CofC got the ball. After a few offensive rebounds, Anthony Stitt nailed a 3, which made it a seven point margin. This calmed the nerves of the CofC fans, who were afraid that the game was going to be like the game at McAlister Field House, which wasn't decided until the last 15 seconds.
Stitt was fouled with four seconds left, and nailed both free throws, making it a 31-24 halftime lead for the Cougars.
The second half started quickly for CofC, who made the lead 11 at 35-24. The Dogs cut the lead to eight with 15:32 left after a Marshall Harris III 3, but it didn't get any closer after that.
The most exciting moment was when two of my friends, Blake and Eddie, tried half-court shots during a media timeout. They were part of the Maroon Mayhem student section I belong to. They missed badly, but they were happy that they had the opportunity to be in a contest.
The rest of the game favored the Cougars. They brought the lead out at one point to 25, 69-44. CofC put all of their bench players in, like they usually do during blowout games, and the lead got smaller, with The Citadel finishing the game on a 10-0 run, but CofC still won in a 69-54 game that wasn't as close as the final score appeared.
After the game, I was walking back to my car leaving the arena when an older man fell on the sidewalk, hitting his head. He looked very hurt, but thankfully, there were many people on the sidewalk that saw him fall, and were helping him get up. I don't know what his fate was, but thankfully people were on his side.
CofC traveled to Wofford on Saturday; blowing them out 79-50, while The Citadel hosted the Elon Phoenix. I was at that game. The final regular-season chapter of this rivalry in the SoCon was an interesting one, but the Cougars took advantage of poor rebounding by The Citadel and took the win.
at CHARLESTON 69, THE CITADEL 54
THE CITADEL 4-14 (1-7) -- M. Van Scyoc 2-8 0-0 4; M. Groselle 8-17 1-2 17; M. Harris III 2-7 0-0 5; A. Moore 4-6 0-0 9; L. Miller 1-6 0-0 3; J. Jenkins 2-4 1-2 6; S. Elmore 2-3 0-0 4; Q. Marshall 0-1 0-0 0; D. Setzekorn 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 22-54 2-4 50.
CHARLESTON 13-7 (5-3) -- A. Lawrence 4-9 2-2 12; A. Stitt 2-5 4-4 10; W. Hall 7-8 0-0 14; A. Baru 3-5 1-2 7; A. Thomas 3-8 2-2 8; T. Wiedeman 2-8 0-0 4; N. Johnson 1-6 3-4 5; M. Sundberg 1-4 0-2 3; T. Johnson 1-2 2-2 4; P. Branin 0-1 0-1 0; H. Bowne 0-0 0-2 0; T. Dixon 1-1 0-0 2; B. Benton 0-0 0-0 0; C. Cooke 0-0 0-0 0; J. Hall 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-57 14-21 69.
Three-point goals: CITA 4-18 (M. Harris 1-5; L. Miller 1-5; A. Moore 1-3; J. Jenkins 1-2; M. Van Scyoc 0-3), COFC 5-18 (M. Sundberg 1-3; A. Lawrence 2-5; N. Johnson 0-4; A. Stitt 2-4; A. Thomas 0-2); Rebounds: CITA 20 (M. Groselle 9), COFC 45 (A. Baru 12); Assists: CITA 8 (P. Horgan 2), COFC 14 (A. Lawrence 4); Total Fouls -- CITA 15, COFC 7; Fouled Out: CITA-None; COFC-None.