Minutes after missing four of his five 3-point shots in a loss to Western Carolina last week, Matt Van Scyoc took corrective action.
The Citadel freshman wheeled out the rebounding machine at McAlister Field House at about 10 p.m., plugged in his iPod and started putting up shots.
Lots of shots.
Van Scyoc, mired in a 2-for-17 slump from long distance, worked for about 45 minutes, often muttering under his breath when a shot rattled out.
The extra work paid off in the Bulldogs’ next game, as the 6-6 Van Scyoc made 5 of 10 from 3-point range and scored 20 points in a 70-65 loss to Chattanooga. The Citadel will try to snap its nine-game skid today against visiting Samford, which is coming off a 62-57 upset of College of Charleston.
“I was in pretty bad slump,” said Van Scyoc, who is shooting 38 percent and averaging 10.3 points for the 3-10 Bulldogs. “I think taking some extra shots after the Western Carolina game helped me relax a little bit.
“I was able to let the shots come to me, and I wasn’t forcing anything, so that felt good.”
It’s all part of the learning curve for a young Citadel team that is now starting two freshmen (guard Rae Robinson of Goose Creek High School is the other); a sophomore (guard Marshall Harris); a former baseball player in his first year of Division I basketball (forward Stephen Elmore); and senior center Mike Groselle.
That youth showed in the final minutes of Thursday’s loss to Chattanooga, as the Bulldogs saw a 10-point lead melt away. The Citadel scored three points in the final 4:50 and was outscored, 26-11, in the final 11:30.
“It’s a matter of learning how to manage the time at the end of the game, and to be confident,” Van Scyoc said. “I think we were confident, but you have to give Chattanooga credit, they hit some deep shots.
“We are a young team, but I don’t like using that young thing as an excuse. Our sophomores, they were in this position last year, and Rae and I and the other freshmen, we know what to do.”
Coach Chuck Driesell said the Bulldogs took the loss to Chattanooga hard; they’ll have to put it behind them quickly against Samford, which hit 8 of 16 from 3-point range to beat College of Charleston for the first time in 13 tries.
“There were a lot of upset guys in the locker room, some in tears,” Driesell said. “I love that about them. They just have to keep that kind of drive. It will fall our way eventually.”