The Citadel’s basketball team spent most of the offseason focusing on improving its defense and rebounding, and early returns are positive.
Who: Montreat (1-3) at The Citadel (1-1)When: 7:05 p.m.Where: McAlister Field House
But another issue has emerged for the 1-1 Bulldogs, who continue a five-game homestand tonight against NAIA-member Montreat at McAlister Field House.
That issue is turnovers.
The Citadel has 35 through two games, including 19 in an 84-76 win over VMI and 16 in a 77-70 loss to Air Force in the All-Military Classic last weekend.
“They were painful,” coach Chuck Driesell said of 11 first-half turnovers against Air Force.
“And we saw some of that in our first game, too. We’re still a very young team, especially the guys who control the ball and have it in their hands.”
The Bulldogs are starting sophomores Marshall Harris and Lawrence Miller in the backcourt, along with freshman swingman Matt Van Scyoc.
“They are really still fighting through how to handle situations like that,” Driesell said. “Air Force didn’t pressure us like VMI did, but we still had way too many unforced turnovers.”
Young players can be inconsistent, as well. Van Scyoc, who scored 18 points in his debut against VMI, followed up with six turnovers and no points against Air Force. Harris had 19 points and nine assists in the first game, two and five in the second.
“Matt had a breakout game in his first game, and that’s hard to come back off of sometimes,” Driesell said. “He’s still going to be a special player for us. He just had some early turnovers, and that can play with your mind a little bit.”
Senior center Mike Groselle, averaging 19 points and 11.5 rebounds, was named Southern Conference player of the week Monday.
Montreat, located near Asheville, N.C., is 1-3 this season, including an 86-54 loss to Appalachian State.
“I just want our guys to keep giving an honest effort, keep working hard and defending people,” Driesell said. “We’re right where we need to be. We’ve just got to clean some things up.”