GAME NOTES: The Citadel Bulldogs will look to ride the momentum of their recent overtime win into the Templeton Center where they will square off with the Presbyterian Blue Hose in a non-conference duel as part of the annual BracketBuster event.
The Citadel holds a 46-22 all-time series lead over Presbyterian in a series that dates back to 1919. The Bulldogs have won the last 10 meetings in the rivalry, but this series has been idle since Dec. 8, 1982.
After losing four in a row, the Bulldogs outlasted the Appalachian State Mountaineers on Wednesday to collect an 80-77 road win in overtime. Mike Groselle scored 10 of the team's 12 points in the extra session to finish with a double-double of 22 points and 14 boards. The victory came through a collective effort as Matt Van Scyoc netted a game-high 24 points, P.J. Horgan added 10 points and Marshall Harris III dealt out nine assists. The Citadel went 29-of-60 from the field in the contest to mark the seventh time in eight games that is has connected on at least 47 percent of its field goal tries.
The Bulldogs are still being outscored by an average of 9.6 ppg despite the recent improvement in their field-goal efficiency. Groselle is the go-to-guy with team-leading averages of 15.3 points and 7.5 rebounds (3.1 offensive) per tilt. Van Scyoc chips in 11.4 ppg and Harris III hands out an average of 5.2 assists. Harris III has been steady while running the show for the Citadel as his 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio is second best among SoCon players.
Presbyterian was handed a 72-54 loss by Charleston Southern on Tuesday to mark its third loss in four outings. The Blue Hose have failed to win back-to-back games at any point during the 2012-13 campaign and as a result, enter the BracketBuster with an unappealing 7-21 overall record. Presbyterian is in last place in the South Division of the Big South Conference standings with a 4-10 mark in league play.
Senior guard Khalid Mutakabbir is pacing the Blue Hose with 15.1 ppg on 43.2 percent shooting from the field while sophomore swingman Jordan Downing nets 13.2 ppg. Downing has missed the past two games with a concussion. Junior big man Joshua Clyburn stepped up with his teammate sidelined to post 15 points and eight rebounds in Presbyterian's loss to Charleston Southern. Mutakabbir finished with 11 points, which put him at 1,499 for his career. Like the visitors, the Blue Hose also have a reliable point guard in Eric Washington. The sophomore is dishing out 6.6 assists per tilt, which is on pace to shatter the standing program single-season record of 3.5 apg set by Pierre Miller in 2010-11.
If Downing is unable to return, the Blue Hose will have trouble matching the red-hot Bulldogs. The Citadel is by no means a power on the college basketball scene, but it performed quite well against Presbyterian in the past. It will be interesting to see how these schools match up more than 30 years after their most recent encounter.
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