Charleston, S.C.- Cameron Wells netted a game-high 25 points to lead The Citadel past High Point, 71-63, and helped Chuck Driesell grab his first NCAA Division I coaching victory in front of 1,224 in attendance at McAlister Field House. The senior point guard topped the 20-point mark for the 29th time in his career and in the process moved within 86 points of becoming the all-time scoring leader.
Wells teamed with Zach Urbanus (10 points), Matt Clark (9 points) and eight points apiece from Bryan Streeter and Morakinyo Williams to move the Bulldogs to 1-3 on the season. A dominant performance by The Citadel front court, which finished with a 45-34 advantage in rebounding, was integral in the victory. The Bulldogs totaled 16 offensive and 29 defensive rebounds in the game, due in large part to six offensive rebounds by Streeter. Urbanus, who tied a career-high with eight rebounds, edged out Streeter, Wells and Williams who tallied seven apiece. Urbanus also established a new career-high in assists, eight, bettering a previous high of seven that came against Wofford on Jan. 19, 2008. The Bulldogs capitalized on a 23-of-58 (39.7%) field goal percentage and knocked down 5-of-16 (31.3%) from beyond the arc.
Nick Barbour, the only HPU player in double figures, converted 7-of-11 field goal attempts and 5-of-6 free throw attempts to score 20 points in the loss. Teammates Shay Shine (9 points) and Corey Law (8 points) narrowly missed double-digit scoring performances. Du"Vaughn Maxwell anchored the middle for High Point with eight rebounds, allowing the Panthers to outscore The Citadel 36-24 in the paint.
"The guys have worked really hard to get this first victory," said Driesell. "The keep plugging away and grinding it out in practice and we know if we continue to do that then the wins will eventually come. The win tonight was very rewarding for us as a team and a coaching staff, but we still have got work to do. I am pleasantly surprised that we came up with 16 offensive boards in this game. We work on that part of our game and I was very pleased tonight with the way that the players went to the glass on the offensive end."
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Austin Dahn and Clark opened second half scoring as The Citadel took its largest lead of the game, 39-25. High Point answered with a 7-1 run that spanned 4:23 of the contest, pulling within six points of the tie. The backcourt of Urbanus and Wells, who scored five and four points respectively, gave the Bulldogs a 52-39 lead with just over eight minutes remaining.
High Point took advantage of five Citadel fouls and eight points from Barbour during a 5:12 spurt to narrow the lead to 58-55. The Dogs hit 11-of-12 free throws down the stretch, along with a dunk by Williams to close out the eight-point victory.
The Citadel held a 33-25 advantage at the break behind Wells' 14 points. Also contributing to the Bulldogs offensive success was Streeter, who scored six points. The Bulldogs controlled the rebounding edge, 26-15, led by six apiece from Streeter and Urbanus. Urbanus was the catalyst to The Citadel offense with six assists at the break. Joined by Williams' five rebounds, the Cadets had eight offensive boards and 18 on the defensive end.
Maxwell led six HPU players in scoring with five points, while the remaining players scored four points apiece. Maxwell also paced the team with five rebounds. The Bulldogs defense limited High Point to 8-of-27 (29.6%) and 1-of-3 (33.3%) from beyond the perimeter.
A Wells 3-pointer broke a 4-4 tie at the 15:05 mark and the Cadets went on a 10-0 streak over the next 1:55 to assume the 14-4 lead. After a High Point rally, cutting The Citadel lead within three on a layup by Maxwell, jumpers by Streeter and Dahn provided breathing room at 24-17 with 6:43 remaining.
Just over a minute later, Wells again connected on a 3-pointer to push the lead to 27-19. The Citadel outscored HPU 9-6 over the final 5:06 of the half and closed with a 33-25 at the intermission.
The Citadel will enjoy a three day break before returning to the road for a non-conference meeting with in-state foe Coastal Carolina on Saturday. Tip time is set for 7:00 p.m.
For more information on Bulldog Basketball, visit the official website of The Citadel Athletics at www.CitadelSports.com.