The Mocs just went on the road to take on and take out the Furman Paladins. Now, they get a chance
to take out a second team on the road- The Citadel Bulldogs. The Citadel is considered the worst team in the SoCon by most people, but it is never easy to win on the road in the SoCon. Can the Mocs get it done for a second straight game?
The Bulldogs have beaten one D1 team this year- a 14 point win over Presbyterian at home all the way back on November 12. Since that time, they have beaten North Greenville, Montreat and Brevard as non-D1 teams and they lost to West Alabama, a non-D1. This is The Citadel's SoCon opener, as the Bulldogs last game was a road loss to Radford on Thursday, 76-59. With The Citadel going to Elon, Wofford and UNCG in their next three games, this is the Bulldogs best chance for a win for a while. After that, they get Furman and Appalachian State at home.
The Citadel is relying heavily on 6-6 freshman Brian White. He is the second leading scorer at 14.0 points per game, to go along with 7.2 rebounds per game. He's shooting 54.7% from the floor. He's certainly the favorite to be the SoCon Freshman of the Year at this point. White scored 48 points in two games to start the year. Since then, he has only averaged 12.6 points per game- still a solid performer, but not quite as good.
Matt Van Scyoc is the player that the Bulldogs are relying the most on to produce. At 6-6, he's a tough match-up. He's taken 152 shots on the year and 81 of them have been threes. He's making just 34.6% of his shots on the year. He's averaging 14.2 points per game and 5.3 rebounds. He's an 89% free throw shooter, but shooting under 40% from the floor on the year. He shot better from the floor last year, when he made 37% of his threes and 42.5% of his shots overall. He's been on and off again this year. He scored just three against Towson, five against Gardner-Webb and four against College of Charleston. For the player that is supposed to be leading the team, he can't afford to have games like that.
Ashton Moore and Marshall Harris III are both pretty good shooters as well. Moore is shooting 32.8% from three point range, while coming up with 3.4 assists per game and 2.7 turnovers per contest. Harris III is shooting 39.5% from three point range while dishing out 4.3 assists per game and 1.9 turnovers. They will need to be relied on to challenge the Mocs defense so that Van Scyoc and White can operate normally.
Tom Koopman is a 6-8 freshman who plays quite a bit. CJ Bray is a 6-7 sophomore and a bigger body. He's only been healthy recently. With 5.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, he's playing OK.
The Citadel is a young team and has really been struggling offensively. They play fast, but are not efficient. They turn the ball over quite a bit (ranking 333rd in the country out of 351 teams). The Bulldogs defense has been good against three point shots, allowing opponents to shoot just 31.8% from long range. They do not force a lot of turnovers on the defensive side, and have been pretty weak against two point shots. Opponents are shooting 52.1% on those two point shots.
Z Mason, Casey Jones and Lance Stokes are solid performers inside. Jones and Mason should be able to have their way inside. The question will be if the Mocs defense can slow down Moore and Harris III. Van Scyoc may or may not be on, and the Mocs will need to take care of him and White as well. We'll see how the Mocs improving defense does against the Bulldogs weak offense. If the Mocs defense takes a game off, things could be very interesting.
The Mocs defense has been getting better. The Mocs offense is still struggling, but if they remember to pound the ball inside to Mason and let Jones do what he does offensively. Gee McGhee seems to be getting going again on the offensive end. Rico White and Greg Pryor are combining to play well at point guard. If the Mocs show up ready to play like they have the last three games, the Mocs will win this one. If they don't, it's anyone's guess. My bet is they don't play as well after their good performance against Furman, but the Mocs still can come up with the win. Mocs 72, Bulldogs 66.