STATESBORO, GA. - During its current losing streak, The Citadel's basketball team had mostly avoided outright embarrassment, falling by more than 20 points only once.
That was before Thursday's trip to Georgia Southern, where the Eagles trounced the Bulldogs by an 83-52 score that could have been much worse.
As it was, the 31-point loss extended The Citadel's losing streak to 11 straight games and dropped the Bulldogs to 4-19 overall and 0-8 in the Southern Conference halfway through the league season.
Georgia Southern led by 39 points in the second half, but settled for dealing the Bulldogs their worst SoCon defeat since a 70-48 loss at Davidson last season.
"We were over-matched tonight, which is a little surprising," said fourth-year Citadel coach Chuck Driesell. "But it wasn't a game. They got us. Our guys didn't show up and play the way they have been. My job is to figure that out, but we were over-matched tonight."
The Citadel was over-matched by a GSU team that came in a with a three-game losing streak and its two best big men, Eric Ferguson and Trent Wiedeman, on the bench. Ferguson, an all-SoCon forward, is out with an injury; Wiedeman is sitting out a year after transferring from College of Charleston to play for ex-Cougar assistant Mark Byington.
Guard Jelani Hewitt, the SoCon's top scorer, hit for 22 points to lead the Eagles (3-4, 10-12), who actually trailed by 6-0 to start the game.
But at that point, GSU went on a 29-0 run as the Bulldogs missed 17 straight shots and went 12:03 without a point.
"The bottom dropped out," said Driesell, whose teams have endured double-digit losing streaks each of the last three seasons. "We're disappointed; it was a bad loss, a bad loss. We've tried to avoid situations like that this year, and have done a pretty good job of it. But this is a tough loss. Georgia Southern just had our number tonight."
Guard Ashton Moore was the only Bulldog in double figures with 14 points. Leading scorer Matt Van Scyoc took just three shots in 27 minutes and scored seven points.
The Bulldogs shot 35 percent, made just 1 of 13 from 3-point range and were out-rebounded 43-29.
"Tonight was an anomaly I guess, just bad basketball on our part," Driesell said. "I could go on and on, but it was just a bad game."
Next up for The Citadel is a trip Saturday to Davidson, which improved to 7-1 in the SoCon on Thursday with a 94-51 rout of Chattanooga, previously unbeaten in the SoCon.
"I'm just concerned about my team and where their minds are right now," Driesell said. "This was a bad loss and we've had many of those. This will be a mark of where the guys are at and what kind of character they have."
Citadel forward Dylen Setzekorn, who missed the last eight games with a staph infection, returned to action and scored four points in three minutes.