lew stallworth citadel

Citadel guard Lew Stallworth scored 37 points at Western Carolina on Saturday. Provided/Citadel Athletics 

Citadel point guard Lew Stallworth scored a career-best 37 points on Saturday, but it wasn't nearly enough for the Bulldogs at Western Carolina.

The Catamounts torched The Citadel's 2-3 zone defense by shooting 19 of 30 from 3-point range in a 103-82 win at the Ramsey Center in Cullowhee, N.C. Onno Steger and Matt Halvorsen combined for 12 treys and 49 points as WCU snapped a four-game skid.

WCU (7-21, 4-11 Southern Conference) entered the game averaging 70 points per game; in two wins over The Citadel this season, the Catamounts averaged 98.5.

"It was probably our lack of defense, and lack of defensive effort, I would think," Citadel coach Duggar Baucom in explaining the Catamounts' scoring, which included a 60-point second half on Saturday.

The Bulldogs fell to 11-14 overall and 3-11 in the SoCon, their hopes for a winning overall record and sixth seed in the SoCon dwindling quickly. The Citadel must win its final four games, three of them at home, to post a winning regular-season record.

Stallworth made 13 of 27 shots and all nine of his free throws for his 37 points, the most by a Bulldog since teammate Zane Najdawi scored 37 against Chattanooga on Jan. 13, 2018. Only seven Citadel players have scored more points in a single game in program history.

"You can't blame Lew," Baucom said on his post-game radio shot. "He passes the ball, and guys don't make shots. I can't fault him; he's trying to win. If he can get 37, thank goodness or we would have gotten beat worse."

Najdawi finished with 12 points in just 23 minutes before fouling out, and Alex Reed added 11 points off the bench. Kaiden Rice made three of his first four from 3-point range, but then missed his last six for nine points. Matt Frierson, who missed Thursday's game at ETSU with illness, return to action but did not take a shot in 10 minutes.

The Citadel trailed by 43-39 at the half before WCU pulled away in the second half. Steger made 6 of 9 from 3-point range for 25 points, and Halverson also was 6 of 9 for 24 points. Marc Gosselin made all four of his 3-point tries for 18 points.

"They shot the ball lights out," Baucom said. "We've got guys who in the gym on their own can't make 19 of 30. All credit goes to them; we haven't run into a performance like that all year."

The Citadel returns home to play Chattanooga on Thursday and Samford next Saturday.

  

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