CULLOWHEE, N.C. -
The Citadel basketball team scored the final four points and edged Western Carolina 92-91 in a thrilling contest on Thursday night. Senior point guard P.J. Boutte
made two game-clinching free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining to give his team the lead as the Bulldogs secured their second consecutive win and first Southern Conference road victory of the season. Senior Quinton Marshall
led four Bulldogs in double figures with 18 points and five rebounds. Marshall has reached double figures 14 times in 19 games this season.
The Citadel trailed by as many as seven (89-82) with 2:57 left, but the Bulldogs relied on their seniors to erase the deficit. Marshall, Boutte and Derrick Henry
combined to score The Citadel's final 12 points and head coach Duggar Baucom
's squad got the stops it needed down the stretch to give the Bulldogs a chance. After a Marshall baseline jumper and two free throws from Henry sliced Western Carolina's 89-84 advantage to one, the Catamounts sunk a pair at the line to go up three with 25 seconds left. Boutte drove to the basket for a quick bucket on the next possession. Following a foul, two missed free throws by Western Carolina set up the dramatic finish. Boutte beat his defender off the dribble and earned a trip to the charity stripe, where he sealed the win for The Citadel.
The Bulldogs hit 15 three-pointers to fuel the victory, marking the 12th time this season that they have made 10 or more shots from the beyond the arc. Marshall was 4-for-5 from deep and 7-for-10 from the field in his efficient outing.
While the seniors delivered in crunch time, The Citadel's crop of freshmen proved to be the difference throughout the game as the group combined for 32 points on Thursday night. Freshman Connor Schroeder
racked up a career-high 15 points, making three treys while shooting 6-of-12 from the floor. He now has four career double-digit performances.Quayson Williams
tossed in all 13 of his points in the first half during The Citadel's slow start offensively. After the Bulldogs fell down 5-0 quickly, the 5-foot-11 freshman scored eight consecutive points and sparked a 13-2 run. Western Carolina regained the lead, but again The Citadel answered. Trailing 31-26, the Bulldogs put together another 13-2 spurt. Junior Brian White
buried back-to-back treys to hand his team a 39-33 edge and The Citadel took a 41-39 advantage into halftime.
The Bulldogs built a 55-44 lead early in the second half with Warren Sledge
heating up from three-point range. The junior scored all nine of his points in the final 20 minutes. Western Carolina guard Elijah Pughsley managed to will his squad back in front, drilling a variety of tough shots to change the momentum. He finished with a career-high 26 points and surged the Catamounts in front 85-80 late with a pair of deep three-pointers.
Baucom and company regrouped, setting up the frantic finish that has the Bulldogs riding a wave of momentum heading into Saturday's tilt at East Tennessee State. Tip off is set for 4 p.m. on ESPN3. For more information on The Citadel basketball, follow @CitadelHoops