CULLOWHEE, N.C. - After putting up a spirited battle against Davidson, The Citadel went down without much of a fight at Western Carolina on Saturday, setting a new standard for basketball futility in the process.
The Bulldogs lost their 17th straight game, 70-52, before a crowd of 1,241 at the Ramsey Center, breaking the school record for consecutive losses in a single season.
The 1953-54 Citadel team lost 16 straight games, part of a stretch of 30 straight losses over two seasons.
"There's only so much you can say at this point," said fourth-year coach Chuck Driesell. "We've just got to play better."
The 4-25 Bulldogs are 0-14 in the Southern Conference and have two more chances to win a league game, including Monday's game against Samford at McAlister Field House. The last season in which The Citadel failed to win a SoCon game was in 1955-56, when the Bulldogs went 0-10.
The loss at Western Carolina (17-12, 10-4) also gave The Citadel an 0-15 record in road games this season. The last time the Bulldogs failed to win a road game in a season was in 1977-78.
Guard Trey Sumler scored 18 points to lead the Catamounts, who have won three straight games and five of their last six. Guard Ashton Moore scored 16 points for the Bulldogs, who shot 31.5 percent with 14 turnovers.
The Citadel had five turnovers in the first six minutes and fell behind 15-3 at the game's start. The Bulldogs trailed 35-25 at the half and never got closer than nine in the second half.
"We got off to a terrible start, but they didn't particularly get off to a good start either," Driesell said. "They gave us an opportunity and we need to be able to take advantage of situations like that."
It was stark contrast to the Bulldogs' effort in an 83-76 loss to SoCon leader Davidson last Monday.
"We need to be the kind of team that can bring it like we did against Davidson and then duplicate that," Driesell said. "And we did not play well today."
Aside from Moore, only Matt Van Scyoc (10 points) scored in double figures for the Bulldogs. Moore had 12 points in the first half, but only four in the final 20 minutes.
"They got into Ashton and that means other guys have to step up and make some shots and take some pressure off of him," Driesell said. "And we didn't get that from anybody."