Staying in shape early pays off now on college court for Laurel resident

Laurel resident Matt Frierson has made 39 three-pointers for The Citadel this season.
Laurel resident Matt Frierson has made 39 three-pointers for The Citadel this season.(Photo by Zach Bland/The Citadel Athletics)

Matt Frierson played soccer with the Laurel Boys and Girls Club as a boy, and all of that running has paid off in his current athletic pursuit.

The Laurel resident is a sophomore shooting guard for the men's basketball team at The Citadel, whose style of play is unmatched by any Division I team in the country.


In 21 games this season, the Bulldogs averaged 95.6 points per contest, which led the nation.

Their up-tempo style of play, instituted by head coach Robert "Duggar" Baucom, in his second season with the military school in South Carolina, leaves many opponents gasping for air.


The Citadel beat Johnson University of Florida 146-84 in November and posted a 144-94 victory over Toccoa Falls of Georgia in December.

"It is a lot of fun to play," said Frierson, a graduate of Chapelgate Christian Academy in Marriottsville. "You get to shoot a lot of [three pointers]. You have to be in shape; coach puts us in a lot of drills during the off-season. Practices are usually short and intense. We go up and down for an hour and a half as fast as we can."

Frierson, who grew up on Fourth Street in downtown Laurel, was a reserve as a freshman at The Citadel and played in 31 of 32 games and averaged 4.7 points and 9.9 minutes per contest.

This season, Frierson played in the first 21 games, with two starts, and averaged 6.1 points and 16.1 minutes per contest. He was 39 of 116 from three-point range, which ranked third on the team in three-pointers made and attempts. He had 11 points in 27 minutes off the bench in a 79-74 win against VMI on Jan. 7, when The Citadel improved to 9-9 overall and 2-3 in league play.

They are currently 9-12 overall and 2-6 in the Southern Conference.

"I would say it is hard; it takes getting used to," Frierson said of coming off the bench. "In high school, if I missed the first three shots I would get a lot more [attempts]. I have to be ready to go."

Frierson knows other teams in the conference are aware of his long-range touch.

"I just have to get my shot off quickly because I know they are closing in on me," he said.

Frierson played basketball for his father, Frick, at Chapelgate and was the Most Valuable Player of the Maryland Christian School Tournament as a junior. He averaged 15.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists.

His Chapelgate team won the Maryland Christian School Tournament title in 2014 after finishing second the previous year.

Frierson comes from an athletic family. His brother Nate played basketball at Covenant College and another brother, Gordie, played basketball at Columbia International. Their sister, Lydia, was a junior midfielder and captain in women's soccer at Division I Charleston Southern in South Carolina this past fall.

Frierson attracted attention from several college programs, including Navy, American and Colgate, but he was recruited to The Citadel by former Maryland player Chuck Driesell, the son of Terrapins Hall of Fame basketball coach Lefty Driesell.


Driesell was let go by The Citadel prior to the 2014-15 season, but the new coaching staff under the direction of Baucom continued to pursue Frierson.

Frierson was able to play in front of several family and friends when The Citadel faced host University of Maryland, Baltimore County on Dec. 19 in Catonsville.

UMBC did not have much time to prepare for The Citadel, after the Retrievers lost at home Dec. 17 to crosstown rival Towson 73-72.

"We did not get much rest. They showed us some film [of The Citadel]. It is going to be something you have never seen," was the message from the UMBC coaches, said Bowie resident Jourdan Grant, a junior guard for the Retrievers. "They are averaging 100 points. It is not every day you hear that."

Frierson had a rough shooting night at UMBC as he missed all seven shots – all from 3-point range – in 14 minutes off the bench.

The Citadel lost 120-111 in double overtime as UMBC set a school record for points scored in a game, besting a mark set against Division III Gallaudet in the 1970s.

It was also the most points scored in a men's game in the history of the RAC Arena at UMBC.

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