Lew Stallworth

Lew Stallworth scored 32 points with nine rebounds and eight assists for The Citadel on Saturday. Louis Brems/The Citadel

They missed them long. They missed them short.

Some of them went halfway down and rattled out. Some never had a chance.

When the bricks settled on perhaps the worst 3-point shooting performance in Citadel basketball history, coach Duggar Baucom could only shake his head.

"I've never witnessed anything like that in my head coaching career, for sure," Baucom said after the Bulldogs missed 37 shots from 3-point range in a 94-82 loss to Western Carolina at McAlister Field House.

"We got as many clean looks today as we have in two weeks. But they wouldn't go in."

The Citadel made just 6 of 43 shots from 3-point range for 14 percent, its worst shooting percentage from deep since the Bulldogs were 1 of 13 (7.7 percent) in an 83-52 loss at Georgia Southern in 2014.

By volume, it might have been the most 3-point misses ever by a Citadel team. The Bulldogs missed 33 of 48 3-point tries in a win over Truett-McConnell in 2016, the most misses in Baucom's four seasons and the most dating back to the 1999-2000 season, which is as far back as The Citadel's online statistics go. The 3-point shot was introduced to college basketball in 1980-81.

"I've seen other teams on TV shoot it like that," Baucom said. "And I always thought, 'We'll never have a night like that because we've got enough shooters on our team.' And I walked in the locker room at halftime and saw 5 percent, and I said, 'Today's your day, brother.' "

It was the bizarro-world version of the Bulldogs' 112-87 win over High Point on No. 27, when they made 23 of 40 from deep.

The Citadel's two best 3-point shooters, Matt Frierson and Kaiden Rice, combined to go 0 for 21 on treys. After 52 straight games with at least one 3-pointer, it was the second game in a row where Frierson, who was 0 of 13, drew a blank.

Point guard Lew Stallworth carried the Bulldogs with 32 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, but it wasn't enough to stop The Citadel (9-7, 1-4 Southern Conference) from dropping its fifth straight game. Center Zane Najdawi battled for 20 points and five rebounds, and reserve forward Hayden Brown had his best game of the season with 16 points in just 17 minutes.

Six Catamounts scored in double figures, led by Kameron Gibson and Matt Holverson with 16 each, as improving WCU (5-14, 2-4) won for the second time in three games under first-year coach Mark Prosser.

Missing its first 17 from 3-point range, The Citadel fell behind by 19 in the first half, then roared out of the halftime locker room with an 11-0 run to cut the gap to 52-50. But WCU responded with a 21-5 run for a 71-53 lead, and the Bulldogs never got closer than nine after that.

"I thought we played our guts out," said Baucom, whose team forced 29 turnovers and had 15 steals. "You force 29 turnovers, you should probably win that game."

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• Stallworth, the Bulldogs' grad-student transfer, has been The Citadel's most consistent player this season. He hit 12 of 18 shots (and even 2 of 3 from 3-point range) and nearly had a triple-double. He's scored in double figures in every game.

• Brown missed eight games with an ankle injury, but in his second game back made 6 of 13 shots and added five rebounds and four steals.

"I thought Hayden played his guts out," Baucom said. "Coming off that foot injury, he was diving all over the place and making hustle plays."

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• Frierson, who has been one of the top 3-point shooters in the country, stretched his shooting slump to four games. He's 2 of 27 over that stretch.

"Nobody feels worse about that than Matt, because he's a great kid and works so hard," Baucom said. "I'd never say he's in a slump, and we kept running plays for him, but there was a lid on the basket for him. Same thing with Kaiden, and he's been so good for us lately."

Coming up

After dropping back-to-back home games, the Bulldogs face three straight on the road - at Samford, Chattanooga and UNC Greensboro.

"It's crazy to win seven games in a row and then lose five straight," Baucom said. "We've got to get it right, and it's certainly on me to get them back right. I'll take responsibility for that."

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