Rally Falls Short as The Citadel Drops Opener to VMI
Colorado Springs, Colo. - The Citadel men's basketball team matched intensity with an up-tempo Virginia Military Institute squad for 40 minutes at 7,258 feet above sea-level, but the Bulldogs fell short in the season opener for both teams, dropping a 103-100 decision to the Keydets Friday evening at the All-Military Classic hosted by Air Force at Clune Arena. The Bulldogs will face Army in the third-place game at 8:30 p.m. EST on Saturday.
Mike Groselle led all scorers with 25 points, a career-high for the junior from Plano, Texas. Groselle also collected 11 rebounds, giving him nine career double-doubles, tying him for the ninth-most in program history.
Four other Bulldogs scored in double figures, freshman Lawrence Miller poured in 14 points in his first collegiate game, including 4-of-5 from three-point range. Fellow freshman Ashton Moore and sophomore Barry Smith each scored 12 points, while newcomer Marshall Harris III chipped in 11 points.
Stan Okoye led six VMI scorers in double-digits with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting and added five rebounds. Rodney Glasgow and Keith Gabriel each added 17 points for VMI, who will face Air Force in the championship game Saturday evening.
VMI used a pair of back-to-back three-pointers to jump out to an early 10-2 lead just 2:19 into the game. After falling behind 28-12 with 9:14 remaining in the first half, the Bulldogs whittled the deficit down to three points as a Miller three-pointer with just over six minutes remaining capped a 12-0 Citadel run and cut VMI's lead to 32-29. The two squads traded buckets down the stretch as the Keydets enjoyed a 52-46 lead at the halftime break.
The Keydets opened the second-half with intensity as they opened with a 7-0 run over the first 90 seconds of the second stanza. VMI ran their lead to 15 points over the course of the second half, taking a 98-83 advantage on a jumper by Nick Gore with 3:58 left in the game.
The Bulldogs used a 14-2 run to make the score 100-97 with 32 seconds remaining, as five points by Groselle and a three-pointer by Miller highlighted the run. After a pair of free throws by Gore extended the VMI lead to 102-97, Harris drained a three-pointer as the Bulldogs cut the deficit to 102-100. Gabriel made the back end of a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left and Smith two-point jumper with two seconds on the clock bounced off the rim, giving VMI the victory.
- Groselle has extended his streak of scoring double figures to seven games, dating back to Feb. 14, 2011 vs. Savannah State.
- Groselle also established a new career-high in points (25), topping a previous career-high of 22 points that he set at Colorado on Dec. 17, 2010.
- Ninth career double-double for Groselle and five in his last six contests dating back to Feb. 17, 2011, against College of Charleston. Groselle now places himself in a three-way tie, alongside Demetrius Nelson, Kirill Misyuchenko and Tom Slawson for ninth-most career double-doubles in Citadel program history.
- Barry Smith established career highs in field goals (4), minutes (16), points (12) and rebounds (3).
- The Citadel is now 53-45 in the all-time series against VMI.
- Last time an opponent scored 100 points against The Citadel came on Dec. 21, 1995 (112 by South Carolina).
- It has been four seasons since the Citadel cracked the 100-point plateau, 131 vs. Daniel Webster, Nov. 27, 2007.
- Most combined points (203) for The Citadel and their opponent in a season-opener since the 2008-09 season, when they combined for 153 points with Grace Bible. In 2007-08, The Citadel and Daniel Webster combined for 210 points (Citadel, 131-79).
- Seventh time in Citadel history that both teams eclipsed the 100-point mark. The last time that it occurred was Jan. 31, 1991 (The Citadel 102, Youngstown State 101).
The Citadel Head Coach Chuck Driesell
"I'm disappointed that our defensive wasn't better, but I give VMI a lot of credit for attacking the rim and doing a nice job of getting buckets in the paint. But I'm extremely pleased with our effort and if we keep playing like that, we're going to win some ballgames this year."
"We went on some runs, but we just didn't get enough stops. We're not going to beat too many people giving up 103 points, but it always comes back to defense. We're going to keep working hard on that and try to shore some things up."
On Mike Groselle…
"Mike always gives 100 percent effort. He played 37 minutes in this type of environment and it was just an outstanding effort from him. He made his free throws and pretty much played an almost perfect game."
On the bench play tonight…
"It's another really bright spot. We had a number of guys normally don't shine as much as they did tonight step up and that's another huge plus for us."
For more information on Bulldog Basketball, visit the official website of The Citadel Athletics at www.CitadelSports.com.