Game #9-351: Elon Phoenix at The Citadel BulldogsJanuary 26, 2013 2:05 pm
McAlister Field House
Any Saturday afternoon in the Lowcountry, even during the winter, is one where you can attend many different events. You can go walking on the Ravenel Bridge, the tallest cable-stayed bridge in North America. You can go fishing. You can get on the boat and travel throughout Charleston Harbor and the beautiful rivers around the Lowcountry. You can go to the beach.
That's just some of the activities. You can go to the mall, travel to the mountains, go to a hockey game on a Saturday night, or stay at home and watch television.
There is another option which is worth your while if you live in the Lowcountry. For the price of a movie ticket, or sometimes less, you can see good mid-major college basketball. Ten dollars usually gets you into McAlister Field House. It is a very pure arena. With a capacity of 6,000, there is hardly a bad viewing spot anywhere. Even though the arena is showing its age, if you are taking someone to their first game, it is a very good introduction to basketball.
The problem is that The Citadel basketball team is one that is not well-supported by the community, partly because of their losing ways in the past few seasons. On Thursday night, January 24, they lost to the College of Charleston at TD Arena, falling again in conference play and going 0-2 in their regular season meetings against the Cougars.
The Citadel did not have much time to bounce back from that loss; after a 7pm Thursday night game, they had to play at 2 o'clock Saturday afternoon against a game Elon team, who has one of the best records in the SoCon.
I got lucky going into this matinee. A guy who had extra tickets for the game gave me one, so I didn't have to pay to get in. It would have been ten dollars, still a good value, but I didn't need to pay. You have to pay a dollar to get a flyer with the team rosters and the media guide notes for the day's game, but even then, it costs less to sit anywhere in the general admission section (half of the arena, anywhere in it) than a nosebleed ticket in any major arena.
I saw Ian McCormick, the Hopping Cats team captain at this game. He was sitting up as close to mid-court as possible so he could do his stats, including points per possession.
A decent number of Elon fans traveled from NC to McAlister Field House, along with a few local alums. Probably 40 or 50 of their fans were in the house. With The Citadel being the most family-oriented alternative of the three Charleston area teams, a lot of youth groups come to their games.
This Saturday was no exception. A troop of Cub Scouts came from the local area. With ample room to run around the vast amount of empty seats, they moved all over the general admission section. About 15 of them were running around, without their chaperone, who was sitting up in the stands. They loaded up on snacks, which made the Citadel concession staff happy. They ate tubs of cotton candy, drank lots of soda and loaded up on pretzels.
They went from a nuisance to an annoyance later in the game. The game was an entertaining one. The first half was close throughout. It was ten points at one time, but except for one brief spurt by Elon, the game was within a three to five point margin for the entire first half. It was an entertaining game, and one which was closer than expected, since Elon had already beaten South Carolina and had only lost twice in the SoCon.
The half was capped off by one of the longest shots that I had seen live in a game, a heave from 3/4 court by Marshall Harris III. Here it is.
This shot ignited the Citadel bench and the crowd, cutting the deficit to just five at halftime, 38-33. It was a much needed energy boost for the crowd at McAlister Field House.
The second half was when the Cub Scouts became an annoyance. They decided to heckle the Citadel free throw shooters while they were shooting, and were pulling for Elon because they were wearing colors they liked. They continued their running through the stands, and one time, the chaperone had to run down and get one of the kids, who was trying to buy extra cotton candy, but gave the excuse of having to go to the bathroom.
Sandlapper Spike, owner of The Sports Arsenal
(Citadel blog) was mad about these Cub Scouts. He posted this on his Twitter and his blog, and Scott Eisberg, WCIV sports anchor, re-tweeted it. I agreed with Spike. They were annoying.
It was a funny sight for a non-partisan fan, but if you wanted to follow the game, you were distracted. Not many cadets came out for this game; the band, about half of the baseball team and a few others were the only ones in attendance.
In the second half, The Citadel stayed very close. It was a two point deficit for the Bulldogs, 44-42, at the 14:12 mark, but Harris missed an easy layup that would have tied the score. Elon got the rebound, and Tanner Samson quickly nailed a three. Suddenly, what should have been a tied game was a 47-42 Elon lead. The Bulldogs never recovered.
The Bulldogs gave a good fight, but didn't get any closer than 6 until a meaningless three-pointer at the buzzer which cut the final margin to four at 70-66. Elon left Charleston with a hard-fought win on the road, which they needed to keep pace in the North Division, while The Citadel suffered another tough conference loss.
Eventually, staying close in most of these Southern Conference games paid off for the Bulldogs. This game though, even though the home team didn't win, was a good value. The fans assembled at McAlister Field House got a good basketball game, and saw something that rarely happens during a game (a half-court shot made).
ELON 70, at THE CITADEL 66
ELON 13-7 (6-2) -- J. Ingram 6-15 5-6 19; S. Koch 3-10 0-0 9; T. Samson 5-12 0-0 15; R. Beaumont 3-7 0-0 6; J. Isenbarger 8-16 2-2 22; L. Troutman 7-11 0-0 14; T. Sabato 0-1 0-0 0; R. Winters 0-0 2-4 2; J. Bonney 1-2 0-0 2; E. Edomwonyi 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-59 4-6 70.
THE CITADEL 4-15 (1-8) -- M. Van Scyoc 7-14 5-6 20; M. Groselle 8-11 4-5 20; M. Harris III 3-10 1-2 9; A. Moore 2-7 0-0 5; S. Elmore 1-1 0-0 2; J. Jenkins 0-0 0-0 0; D. Setzekorn 0-0 2-2 2; L. Miller 0-1 0-1 0. Totals 21-44 12-16 58.
Three-point goals: ELON 12-32 (J. Bonney 0-1; R. Beaumont 0-1; J. Isenbarger 4-11; S. Koch 3-7; T. Samson 5-12), CITA 4-17 (M. Harris 2-6; L. Miller 0-1; A. Moore 1-4; P. Horgan 1-1; M. Van Scyoc 1-6); Rebounds: ELON 27 (R. Beaumont 6), CITA 17 (M. Groselle 9); Assists: ELON 16 (J. Isenbarger 8), CITA 12 (M. Harris 7); Total Fouls -- ELON 17, CITA 8; Fouled Out: ELON-None; CITA-None.