Bulldogs fall to Catamounts

Preseason All-Southern Conference selection James Sinclair paced five Western Carolina players in double figures with a game-high 22 points, as the Catamounts held off The Citadel, 78-70, at the Ramsey Center in Cullowhee, N.C., on Saturday afternoon.

Rhett Harrelson and Justin Browning scored 15 points apiece, while Torrion Brummitt chipped in with 14 points and five rebounds for Western Carolina (6-8, 1-1), which topped The Citadel (5-8, 0-2) for the seventh straight time.

For the Bulldogs, P.J. Horgan registered his sixth career double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds, shooting 6 of 8 from the field and 9 of 10 on free throws. Ashton Moore pumped in 17 points, and Jake Wright hit four 3-pointers in a 14-point effort, as The Citadel shot 51 percent from the field.

Western Carolina started the second half on a 14-2 run, extending a 37-36 halftime lead to 51-38 with 15:23 to play and never looked back.

"We were a different team in the second half," said Citadel coach Chuck Driesell. "We weren't as dialed in, and I don't know why. That got us in a hole."

The Catamounts also forced The Citadel into a season-high 19 turnovers, which they converted into 22 points.

"I don't think their pressure was any more or different than other teams we've played that have pressured us," Driesell said. "I'm disappointed that we turned it over so much."

Down 72-62 with 2:14 remaining, the Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run over the next 1:40, keyed by three Western Carolina turnovers. Sinclair fouled Moore while he was shooting a 3-pointer with 34 seconds left, and the senior made all three free throws to trim the deficit to 72-69.

The Catamounts, though, hit their final six free throws as part of a 19-for-23 (82 percent) overall performance in clinching the win.

Out of the gate, The Citadel made eight of its first nine shots in grabbing a 23-22 lead with 11:08 left in the first half. Sophomore forward Brian White, making his first start of the season, scored eight of his nine points during that stretch and pulled down seven rebounds.

"Brian has been practicing extremely hard, and I reward guys for continually grinding," Driesell said. "He gave us some good minutes today."

In a first half that saw eight lead changes and four ties, the Bulldogs shot 63 percent as a team and had the chance for a halftime cushion taken away in the closing moments when Horgan's dunk was reversed after a replay review.

The Citadel outrebounded Western Carolina, 32-23, and shot 78 percent (22-of-28) at the free-throw line.

The Bulldogs' road swing continues Monday night at the Greensboro Coliseum - a place the Bulldogs have not won since 2008 - against UNC Greensboro for a 7 p.m. tip.

"We're going to have to put 40 minutes together to win and do it on their home court," Driesell said.

Note

By virtue of his two assists, senior point guard Marshall Harris now has 400 for his career, becoming the third Bulldogs player in program history to reach that benchmark. However, Harris re-aggravated his ankle injury that caused him to miss three games earlier this season and did not play in the second half.