In a game that went back-and-forth until the very end, USF men’s basketball (4-2) fell to The Citadel (4-2) 84-81 on Saturday at the Yuengling Center.
Neither team was able to pull away, with the largest lead of the game being The Citadel’s six-points lead early in the first half. The game came down to the final possession when David Collins missed back-to-back three-point attempts to seal the Bulls’ fate.
“I think we had our chances,” Collins said. “I think [it] started from the beginning of the game, when we didn’t set the tone right and we let them stay in the game and it hurt us in the end.”
The Bulldogs shot exceptionally well from three-point range, going 16-for-36 from behind the arc. In fact, the Bulldogs’ first 18 points in the game came off of three-pointers.
The Citadel’s 16 made three-pointers set a new USF program record for most threes allowed. The previous record of 14 was set against SMU on Feb. 7, 2016.
“Because of the threes that they hit, there’s situations where you’re forced to guard the ball more one-on-one and we were exposed a little bit on that today in terms of our inability to that at all five positions,” coach Brian Gregory said.
USF was not without its own chances to win, despite the record number of threes. The Bulls led the game with as late as 1:02 remaining. USF and The Citadel exchanged the lead a grand total of 25 times in the game, with 19 of the lead changes coming in the final 20 minutes of the game.
“You’ve got to get some defensive stops there in the end,” Gregory said. “You’re up three or four points with a couple of minutes to go. You need good offensive possessions, good defensive possessions.”
The Citadel’s two leading scorers were Kaiden Rice and Lew Stallworth, who each scored 22 points and collected six rebounds. Stallworth stole the show in Gregory’s mind.
“[Stallworth] dominated the game,” Gregory said. “He was in complete control from the start to the finish.”
On the positive side for the Bulls, three USF players scored in double-figures. Laquincy Rideau and Collins each scored 21 points, while Alexis Yetna scored 15 and collected a team-high seven rebounds on the afternoon.
For Yetna and Collins, it marked the third-straight game that both scorers were in double-figures. Collins scored 15 of his points in the second half of the game, trailing only The Citadel’s Stallworth for most points scored in the game’s final 20 minutes.
Up next for USF is a few of days off before taking on in-state opponent Stetson on Wednesday at the Yuengling Center at 7 p.m.