Citadel Road Trip Continues Against New Mexico
Albuquerque, N.M. - The Citadel Basketball team will meet its second straight first time opponent when they take to the hardwoods against New Mexico on Sunday afternoon. The second game of the road trip, set to begin at 3 p.m. EST, will take place at The Pit, one of college basketball's most highly recognized arenas. The Bulldogs are looking to rebound from a Friday night loss to Colorado, despite an impressive 36-34 advantage in low post points due in large part to sophomore Mike Groselle. The Lobos are one of seven teams on The Citadel schedule that reached postseason play a season ago, falling in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Washington.
GROSELLE HAS CAREER, GAME-HIGH 22 POINTS AGAINST COLORADO (Dec. 17): The Citadel's Mike Groselle scored a career-high 22 points to lead three players in double figures, but it was not enough as Colorado emerged with an 89-61 victory at Coors Event Center on Friday evening. Groselle's game-high marked the third straight game that the sophomore center has topped double figures in scoring. On the offensive end he was joined by teammates Cameron Wells and Austin Dahn, who finished with 11 and 10 points respectively.
The Citadel finished 24-of-58 (41.4%) from the floor as a unit, keyed by a 12-for-26 (46.2%) second half shooting performance. Groselle topped all players with a 9-for-12 outing along with three rebounds as a starter. The Bulldogs also got a lift in the post from Bryan Streeter who finished with a team-high six rebounds, followed closely by Wells who tallied five boards. Wells piloted the offense with five assists as the Cadets dished out 14 total assists, along the way becoming the second on the school's all-time assists list. The Citadel slips to 3-6 overall.
Four Buffaloes topped double figures in scoring led by Alec Burks' 19 points. Teammates Cory Higgins (18 points), Levi Knutson (11 points) and Andre Roberson (11 points) also reached double-digit marks. Roberson completed the double-double with 10 rebounds, grabbing nine on the defensive end, to give the Buffs a 33-29 edge on the glass. Colorado finished 10-for-20 from 3-point range due in large part to a 4-of-6 outing by Higgins. CU shot better than 50% from the floor in each half that accounted for the 34-of-57 (59.6%) performance on the game. With the victory the Buffaloes improve to 6-3 on the season.
Colorado stretched a 13-point halftime lead to 48-28 in the first 2:44 of the second half on seven quick points by the tandem of Higgins and Burks forcing an early Citadel timeout. The Bulldogs responded with a pair of jumpers by Wells and Dahn, but solid long range shooting by the Buffs allowed them to maintain a 20-plus point advantage. The Citadel scored 18 of 33 second half points in the paint, keyed by Groselle's 10 post points in the stanza. Groselle added four free throws to finish with 14 total second half points for the Dogs, hitting 5-of-7 from the field. Wells tallied seven points after the intermission along with four assists. Three players made a combined eight trips to the charity stripe, as the Bulldogs finished 8-for-11 (72.7%), led by Groselle (4-5).
Higgins led Colorado with 10 second half points, followed by nine each from Roberson and Knutson and eight points on 3-for-3 shooting by Burks. The depth of head coach Tad Boyle's bench allowed eight players to score after the break, securing the 89-61 win.
MAKING A PUSH FOR EXCLUSIVITY: Senior Austin Dahn is now 91 points from becoming the 29th player in Citadel history with 1,000 points. Earlier this season teammate Zach Urbanus moved into 1,000-point list when he scored 16 points against James Madison (Nov. 20). Dahn, currently 37th on The Citadel all-time scoring list is making a strong push to join Urbanus (982), Demetrius Nelson (1,264) and Cameron Wells (1,609) as the 15th set of teammates with 1,000 career points to play alongside each other. Further, they would become the second quartet of teammates in Bulldog history with 1,000 points to take to the court since 2002 when Travis Cantrell, Alan Puckett, Cliff Washburn and Michael Joseph accomplished the feat.
He recently passed Dante Terry, who closed his career with 905 points, and next on the list are Louie Gilbert (917 pts.) and Richard Martini (919 pts.).
MOUNTAIN WEST PERFECTION: The Citadel is putting its perfect record against Mountain West Conference schools on the line when it meets New Mexico. In three previous meetings with MWC institutes, the Cadets are 3-0 which includes a pair of victories over Air Force and a win against Brigham Young.
The two service academies first met on Dec. 29, 1971, when The Citadel came away with a 61-60 victory over Air Force at the Palmetto Classic in Charleston. The two met again during the 1994-95 season at the Cessna Classic (Wichita, Kansas) and the Bulldogs won 65-61, also taking place on Dec. 29.
In the ironic third meeting, this time against BYU on Dec. 29 1960, The Citadel won their only head-to-head meeting with Brigham Young, 94-83, at the opening round of the Poinsettia Classic in Greenville, S.C.
Air Force and Brigham Young were not members of the Mountain West Conference at the time in which they met The Citadel, because the MWC was not incepted until 1999. In the 12 years since its inception, the MWC has had No. 1 overall selections in the NFL (Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers) , NBA (Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee Bucks) and Major League Baseball (Stephen Strausburg, San Diego State) which makes it one of only two conferences to be able to lay claim to No.1 selections in the NFL, NBA and MLB.
|Opponent||The Citadel All-Time vs.|
|San Diego State||0-0|
TRIPLE THREAT: For the eighth straight game Austin Dahn connected on a 3-point attempt, marking the third longest streak of his career with at least one trey. Dahn, who leads the team with 19 long range shots, joined the exclusive company of Zach Urbanus, Noy Castillo, Travis Cantrell as the only players in school history to amass at least 200 3-pointers in their career. Dahn joins Zach Urbanus as the first pair of Citadel teammates, to play alongside one another, to reach the milestone. Among the best shooters from beyond the arc in Bulldog history, only the trio of Travis Cantrell (1998-02; 228), Alan Puckett (1998-02; 198) and Cliff Washburn (1998-02; 183), all of whom played from 1998-2002, converted more 3-point shots.
His current 3-point streak dates back to a 3-for-8 performance against Charleston Southern on Nov. 16. Dahn followed with a 4-of-10 performance against James Madison (Nov. 20). He closed out November with 3-pointers against High Point (Nov. 23, 1-5) and Coastal Carolina (Nov. 27, 4-10). Dahn opened Southern Conference play with 3-pointers against Georgia Southern (Dec. 2), Davidson (Dec. 4, 3-6) before knocking down long range shots against St. Mary's College (Dec. 6, 1-4) and most recently Colorado (Dec. 17, 2-8).
PREVIEWING NEW MEXICO (8-1 Overall)
LOBOS CRUISE PAST LONGWOOD, 91-54 (Dec. 17): For about 13 minutes, it looked like the first game after a hectic week of final exams. For the last 25 minutes, it was an absolute A+ effort. New Mexico pulled away from the Longwood Lancers with a 16-4 run to end the first half, and then a 25-6 run to end the game after the Pit was evacuated after a fire alarm went off in the building as New Mexico won their 28th straight home game in the month of December with a 91-54 pasting of Longwood in the first game of the Las Vegas Classic, presented by iBN.
For the first 13 minutes a pasting was not on anyone's mind, as Longwood hit threes at a surprising clip to take a 22-18 lead. That lead, would not hold. New Mexico went on a closing 16-4 run to take a 39-29 advantage into the break, and it was started and ended by freshman Kendall Williams. He started it with a free throw and a laup to cut the lead to one, and after a missed three by Phillip McDonald, Emmanuel Negedu tipped the rebound in to give UNM their first lead since 1-0. Jeremiah Bowman hit a three for Longwood by Cameron Bairstow answered after a nice Williams dish to tie it at 25 at the 3:47 media timeout.
From there, UNM went on a 14-4 run to close the half, with A.J. Hardeman draining four free throws, and then Kendall Williams hitting a pair of threes in the final minute to make it 39-29.
The Lobos slowly pulled away in the second half, and took a 20-point lead at 61-41 with 11:55 left. That 20-point lead is something they have had in all six home games thus far. With UNM up 66-48, it was twilight zone time as the Pit's fire alarm system went off due to excess smoke coming from one of the food preparations areas in the arena. The building was evacuated in good order, and the game was delayed 34 minutes.
And resumed meant the Lobos went crazy over the final 8:24, ending the game on a 25-6 run. The only basket they allowed was a three-pointer with 21 seconds left, but New Mexico held Longwood without a field goal over an 8:45 stretch, forcing 10 turnovers and five missed shots over that span.
The Lobos got solid efforts from just about everyone. Williams led all with a career-high 20 points, becoming the first Lobo this year to hit the 20-point mark. He went 7-for-8, 3-for-3 from the three, and had six assists, no turnovers, and three steals. Chad Adams also had a career-high with 15 points, all in 10 minutes of second half action. Phillip McDonald scored in double-figures for a sixth straight game with 12, Jamal Fenton had 11, and A.J. Hardeman had 10.
Dairese Gary only scored seven, but he had eight assists for the second straight game. UNM easily outrebounded the Lancers 42-23, with Emmanuel Negedu's eight leading the way. For Longwood, Antwan Carter was a tough out, scoring 17 points and grabbing eight boards. Martiz Washington added 11 and Bowman chipped in 10 off the bench.
BATTLE OF TRADITIONS: The match-up with New Mexico features two coaches who hail from traditional college basketball powerhouses. New Mexico, led by Indiana graduate Steve Alford, and The Citadel's Chuck Driesell, who played at Maryland, learned the game first hand from Basketball Hall of Fame members. Alford played under Bobby Knight while at Indiana and Driesell was under the tutelage of his father 'Lefty' at Maryland. Coach Knight was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1991 and Driesell followed with a 2007 induction into National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
Alford capped off his playing career with a game-high 23 points against Syracuse to capture the 1987 National Championship. He was joined offensively by NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player Keith Smart (21 points) and Daryl Thomas (20 points) as the Hoosiers held off the Orange 74-73. Smart converted the game-winner as time expired as Indiana won Bobby Knight's third and final NCAA National Championship. The 1987 Final Four in New Orleans featured three coaches who would eventually go on to win national titles. Jerry Tarkanian led his 1990 UNLV team to a victory over Duke, Jim Boeheim broke through with Syracuse in 2003 against Kansas and Rick Pitino, then the coach at Providence College, captured a pair of National Championships (1993, 1996) at the helm of the University of Kentucky.
In the summer of 1984 Alford was selected to play on the USA team that featured the likes of Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin and Wayman Tisdale. He averaged 10.3 points per game while shooting 64.4% from field goal range and finished second on the team in assists. The Americans went on to capture gold in Los Angeles under Bobby Knight that year.
Driesell spent six seasons (1997-2003) as head coach at Marymount University (NCAA Division III) in Arlington, Va. Where he guided the Saints to an 88-72 mark. In 1999-00, he led Marymount to the Capital Athletic Conference Tournament Championship and its first Division III NCAA Tournament appearance.
For more information on Bulldog Basketball, visit the official website of The Citadel Athletics at www.CitadelSports.com.