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Rivalry renewed: College of Charleston, The Citadel to meet again in basketball

College of Charleston vs. Citadel

College of Charleston and The Citadel have not met in basketball since 2016, but are slated to play this season on Nov. 16. Here, former Cougar Jarrell Brantley drives against former Bulldog Leandro Allende in 2016. File/Staff 

It's been four years since College of Charleston and The Citadel, separated by 2.2 miles of downtown Charleston streets, have met on the basketball court.

That will change this season, as the Cougars and Bulldogs have signed a contract for a Nov. 16 game at College of Charleston's TD Arena, the coaches confirmed last week.

The contract is for just one game, and it will be the first time the Cougars and Bulldogs have met since College of Charleston's 81-68 win on Nov. 11, 2016, at TD Arena — assuming the 2020-21 season is not derailed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Citadel coach Duggar Baucom said he has "mixed feelings" about renewing the rivalry because of his relationship with Charleston coach Earl Grant.

"We are going over there this year, and then we'll see what the future holds," said Baucom. "I really have mixed feelings about it, but it's a great game for the city and for our kids and their kids.

"I have the utmost respect for Earl. I recruited him and have known him for 20 years, and I hate playing friends like that."

The Cougars have won 10 straight in the series, including two wins under Grant.

"When we got to The Citadel, we were in a two-year deal with the College that I inherited," said Baucom. "But we were not at the same stage as College of Charleston was at the time, so it went away for a couple of years.

"But I hope it will be a good draw and generate a lot of interest."

The two schools began playing each other in basketball in 1901, and the Cougars own a 55-39 lead in the series, according to The Citadel's record book.

"It's a game that's been played for 125 years, but it just didn't work after we made the change to the Colonial Athletic Association and weren't playing them twice a year anymore," said Grant. "Now, the date happened to work again, and I think it's good for the city and our fans."

Grant, a graduate of Stall High School, was at Spartanburg Methodist when Baucom, then an assistant at Mars Hill, tried to recruit him. Grant ended up going to Georgia College.

"You definitely don't want to play against people that you talk to and like," Grant said. "But it's hard to avoid it sometimes in this profession, and sometimes you have to play people you like and respect."

Citadel Notes

• Baucom said Citadel players Hayden Brown, Jackson Gammons and Jerry Higgins III all should receive medical redshirts after each missed most of the 2019-20 season with injuries.

• The coach said 6-9 forward Brady Spence is recovering well after knee surgery immediately after the season and should return to action in September. Point guard Rudy Fitzgibbons, who suffered a displaced dislocated little finger in the SoCon Tournament, did not require surgery and also is recovering well, he said.

Reach Jeff Hartsell at 843-937-5596. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_fromthePC

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