A 95-57 loss at St. Bonaventure on Wednesday night will be a “learning lesson” for The Citadel, basketball coach Chuck Driesell said.
It’s the latest in a lengthening list of painful lessons for the Bulldogs (3-6), who have lost five straight games by an average margin of 25 points. Dating to last season, The Citadel has lost 11 December games in a row.
Mercifully, the Bulldogs’ December schedule, featuring five road games, draws to a close Saturday at Georgia Tech.
“This is a good team we played tonight,” Driesell said of host St. Bonaventure (7-3), a 20-game winner and NCAA tournament squad last season. “It was on their home court out here in the middle of nowhere, and we’ll learn from that.”
Demitrius Conger and Chris Johnson scored 16 points each for the Bonnies, who jumped out to a 15-2 lead and led 43-28 at the half.
“We did some good things in the first half,” Driesell said. “What is a little disappointing is that we could not maintain that in the second half. That’s where our youth raises its head a little bit.”
The Citadel finished with more turnovers (20) than field goals (18), and shot just 37.5 percent. Senior Mike Groselle scored 14 points to lead the Bulldogs, while freshman Matt Van Scyoc added 13 and sophomore Ashton Moore 10.
“You can’t get careless with the ball against high-major teams, teams that are quick and fast and athletic,” Driesell said. “You have to be solid with the ball, and I think our guys are learning that. It’s a learning lesson for our guys to compete against this level of player and team.”
The Bonnies, averaging six treys and shooting 35 percent from 3-point range coming in, made 10 of 18 from long distance, led by guard Eric Mosely’s 3 of 4 performance.
He and forward Marquise Simmons each scored 15 points for the Bonnies, who shot 56.5 percent from the field and have won 15 of their last 16 games at the Reilly Center.
The Citadel missed its first nine shots and committed three turnovers as St. Bonaventure jumped out to a 15-2 lead. The Bulldogs could only get as close as seven points after that start. The Bonnies had runs of 10-0, 15-0 and 15-0 during the game.
The 40-point margin of defeat was the biggest for The Citadel since a 79-37 loss at Richmond on Nov. 12, 2010, in Driesell’s first game with the Bulldogs.