Coming off a last second win against the College of Charleston, Western Carolina was looking to continue their winning ways against The Citadel on Saturday, Feb. 7. The Catamounts hosted in the Citadel in the second part of a double header, which saw the Lady Catamounts take care of rival Appalachian State in the first game.
The game against The Citadel was an important matchup for the Catamounts in the standings as they were looking to continue their 6 game home winning streak.
Western Carolina played hard and put up a strong fight, but in the end, the Bulldogs proved to be too much for the Cats to handle. The Citadel got a career performance from Demetrius Nelson who poured in 29 points and pulled down nine rebounds for the Bulldogs. 15 of Nelson’s points came from the free throw line. The Bulldogs also got a strong performance from Cameron Wells who contributed 15 points and Austin Dahn who added 10 points.
The Catamounts got strong performances from some unlikely sources when Adrian Gailliard scored 13 points coming off the bench for the Catamounts. The other two Catamounts who posted double figure scoring efforts were Richie Gordon and Brandon Giles; they added 12 and 11 respectively. For Gordon, this performance marked the second straight double digit scoring game but this one was a challenge as he was in early foul trouble and only played 18 minutes in the game. Three other Catamounts, Harouna Mutombo, Jake Robinson, and Brigham Waginger, finished just short of double figures with eight points apiece.
The Catamounts were able to stay in the game and take a slim lead in the second half but the Bulldogs came back. In the last four minutes of play, the Catamounts could only close the deficit to within one point before the Bulldogs pulled away. After the Cats had closed the score to 61-60, the Bulldogs drained two consecutive three pointers to expand the lead to seven. Western was outscored from the free-throw line 41-14 in the game and compounded with Western’s shooting struggles, were able to pull away from the Catamounts from the line down the stretch. Besides being outscored from the charity stripe, the Catamounts were also outrebounded 39-31, only the second time that Western had been beaten on the boards by a team visiting the Ramsey center.
Despite the loss, Western was able to take some consolation in the fact they were still tied for first place in the Northern Division in Southern Conference play.
If they had grabbed a win against the Bulldogs, Western would have moved into first place in the division by themselves; however after the loss they needed help from Furman to remain atop the division. Earlier in the day Furman knocked off Chattanooga 72-70 on the Mocs home court. The losses by the Mocs and the Catamounts ensured that the team would remain tied for first place for a little while longer.
Western was 12-11, 7-6 in the SoCon, as of press time.