Duggar Baucom has seen a lot in 25 years of coaching college basketball, but nothing quite like what's happened to The Citadel Bulldogs this season.
Already down four injured players with a fifth departing the team last week, The Citadel played without promising 6-9 freshman Brady Spence on Wednesday night at UNC Greensboro.
The result — a fifth player on the injured list, and an 11th straight loss in an 88-68 defeat to the Spartans at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, N.C.
Spence injured his knee during Saturday's loss at Mercer, and is out pending an MRI, a team spokesman said. He joins Hayden Brown (hamstring), Jackson Gammons (stress fracture), Jerry Higgins (knee) and Connor Kern, who suffered a career-ending injury during the off-season, on the sideline. Graduate transfer Eddie Davis III left the team last week.
"I've never had anything like this in 25 years of coaching," said Baucom, whose team is 6-16 overall and 0-11 in the Southern Conference. "You go to a shoot-around with eight guys, and you don't know how many you'll have for the next one ... But I've got to praise those guys who go out there and fight and dive on the floor for loose balls and play their guts out.
"I'm proud of the kids," he said on his post-game radio show. "They fought, and they competed. They had to fight against UNCG's pressure."
Led by 16 points from freshman Fletcher Abee, The Citadel withstood that pressure for about 25 minutes of game time against UNCG (18-6, 8-3).
Down by eight at halftime, The Citadel cut the gap to 45-42 with 16:14 left as Derek Webster rammed home a rebound dunk and hit a jumper, and Abee cut backdoor for a layup.
But the Bulldogs then went eight minutes without a field goal, allowing UNCG to embark on a 19-1 run for a 66-44 lead with 8:33 left. The Citadel committed five of its 21 turnovers in that stretch. The Spartans' lead reached 25 at 71-46.
Webster had 14 points, five rebounds and three assists in just 22 minutes, while Kaelon Harris added 11 points and Kaiden Rice 10.
"Derek Webster was a monster, but he cramped up and couldn't play any more in the final 10 minutes," Baucom said. "Tyson Batiste was on a bad wheel the whole night, but thank goodness we got 17 minutes out of him."
Keyshaun Langley scored 17 points to lead the Spartans, who in two wins over The Citadel this season forced 53 turnovers leading to 55 points, including a 20-0 edge in points off turnovers on Wednesday.
Abee's streak of three straight 3-pointers sparked a 9-0 run for The Citadel to cut UNCG's lead to 29-28 with 4:33 left in the first half. But the Spartans outscored the Bulldogs the rest of the half by 11-4 for a 40-32 lead at the break, with Kaleb Hunter scoring seven points in that stretch.
The Citadel hosts VMI at 1 p.m. Saturday for a "Pack the Mac" game.
"When you lose 11 in a row, you'll take help from anybody," Baucom said. "I hope people come out and see these guys who are fighting their brains out."