RADFORD, VA. - The Citadel's basketball team lost for the seventh time in eight games Thursday night, dropping a 76-59 decision at Radford. But after the game, Bulldogs coach Chuck Driesell broke a bit of potentially good news.
Forward P.J. Horgan, who has not played this season with a bad back and was said to have given up basketball, could return as soon as Monday's Southern Conference opener against Chattanooga at McAlister Field House.
Horgan, a 6-8 junior, averaged 10.7 points and 6.3 rebounds in 19 games last season after giving up a redshirt year halfway through the season. He struggled with back problems late in the 2012-13 season, and those issues have prevented him from playing this season.
But Horgan has been working out the last few days and could be added to the roster in time for Monday's game, Driesell said.
"Any availability from P.J. would be tremendous," Driesell said. "We were counting on him this year, but as things turned out we didn't have him. The plan now is to get him back."
Any help from Horgan would be good news for the Bulldogs, who are now 4-11 with one win against Division I competition. In Thursday's loss at Radford (10-4), The Citadel fell behind by 16-4 at the start, making just one field goal in the first 9:30 of the game.
It was similar to the 11-0 deficit to start Sunday's 72-48 loss to College of Charleston, when the Bulldogs missed their first 13 shots.
"The same problems reared their heads again," Driesell. "There's one word we are struggling with and this is confidence. Our guys are not playing confident out there, and you can see it visibly on the offensive end."
The Citadel shot 38.7 percent against Radford and made just 2 of 11 from 3-point range. Long-distance shooting, a Bulldogs strength early in the season, is now a liability, with The Citadel making just 22 percent of treys over the last fives games.
Matt Van Scyoc made 9 of 9 free throws to lead The Citadel with 17 points. Sophomore Quinton Marshall, making his third start, added 10 points. Foward C.J. Bray, who had missed the last two games with an ankle injury, returned but did not score in 13 minutes.
"We were one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the country at the beginning of the season," Driesell said. "And we have struggled with that the last few games. We've got to get better, keep working hard and build that confidence."
Forward Javonte Green scored 17 points to lead Radford, off to its best start in 20 years. Guard R.J. Price added 16 for the Highlanders, who closed the first half with a 13-4 run for a 40-25 lead at the break.