TOWSON, MD. — A furious second-half rally Saturday was not enough to prevent The Citadel from losing to a non-Division I basketball team for the first time in 10 years.
The Bulldogs trailed by 31 points before absorbing a 90-77 loss to Division II West Alabama at the Battle 4 Atlantis Mainland event at Towson’s SECU Arena.
Citadel freshman Brian White scored all 24 of his points in the second half as the Bulldogs rallied to within 86-77 with 62 seconds left. But The Citadel did not score again, dropping to 3-6 on the season.
It was the Bulldogs’ first loss to a non-Division I squad since a 71-66 overtime loss to Emmanuel on Dec. 6, 2003.
The Citadel went 0-2 on the trip to Towson, falling 84-59 to the host Tigers on Friday.
“We’re going to have to use the rally to get something out of this tournament,” said Citadel coach Chuck Driesell. “Otherwise, it’s been a disappointment. But we’re not going to let it affect us from here on out. We’re going to remain positive and learn from it.”
West Alabama (3-2), which plays in the Gulf South Conference, earned its first win over a Division I team in 30 years on Friday with a 77-67 win over Abilene Christian. The win over The Citadel gave the Tigers two D-I wins in two days.
Cordell Pope made five 3-pointers and scored 23 points to lead West Alabama, which shot 50.8 percent from the floor and made 11 of 25 from 3-point range. Aaron Cobb added 19 and Desmond Raymond 18.
For The Citadel, sophomore Matt Van Scyoc was just 1 of 8 from 3-point range and scored 12 points. Marshall Harris added 10 as the Bulldogs shot just 6 of 20 from 3-point range.
The Citadel jumped to a 9-2 lead early, but West Alabama took the lead for good at 16-15 and led by 51-28 at the half.
“We looked tight at the beginning of the game,” Driesell said. “I don’t know if we were nervous to make mistakes but we did not look fluid and confident, and you saw the result early in the game.”
The Bulldogs will return home before going back to Maryland for a Wednesday game at Navy.
“We knew this part of the schedule would not be ideal,” Driesell said. “But we’ll get it done. We’ve got to regroup and look at things, practice hard and work on our rebounding.”