Performances of Smith, Wright Unable to Topple Coastal Carolina, 80-58
CHARLESTON, S.C.—Sophomore Barry Smith reached double figures for the fourth time in his career as he scored a team-high 15 points in The Citadel's 80-58 loss to visiting Coastal Carolina at McAlister Field House on Tuesday evening. Classmate DeVontae Wright added 10 points and two assists, but it was the Chanticleers remarkable shooting performance (34-60) that was most decisive in the contest.
The Bulldogs (2-6) closed the game by hitting 20-of-53 (37.7%) from the field, including 9-for-20 from 3-point range, just one shy of tying a season-high. Three Cadets, including Mike Groselle (4-12), Smith (4-9) and Wright (4-9) finished with four field goals in the contest. Smith made the most of his converted field goals, hitting 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. As for Groselle, he snapped a 12-game streak in which he scored in double figures dating back to Savannah State (Feb. 14, 2011). Groselle shared a team-high five rebounds with freshman P.J. Horgan, who made the first start of his collegiate career.
Coastal Carolina's offensive juggernaut was led by junior Anthony Raffa who finished 13-of-19 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers, en route to a career-high 28 points. Raffa also dished out four assists and left his impact defensively with five steals and six rebounds. Joining Raffa were teammates Chris Gradingo (12 points) and Kierre Greenwood (10 points). The Chanticleers managed 34-of-60 (56.7%) from the field and were successful on four shots from beyond the arc. Chants Head Coach Cliff Ellis earned his 700th career coaching victory as his team improved to 8-1 overall on the season.
With a 20-point lead at the half, Coastal Carolina outscored the Bulldogs 11-8 over the first 6:04 of the second half to assume a 58-35 advantage.
Wright quickly answered with a 3-pointer from the corner and was fouled by Raffa in the process, igniting The Citadel bench. After Cosmo Morabbi made a free throw to cut the score to 58-39, Coastal Carolina scored three straight points to push the lead back to 22.
The Bulldogs used a pair of Smith free throws and back-to-back 3-pointers by Lawrence Miller to trim the lead to 63-47 with 8:42 remaining in the game. Smith then used his 6-6 frame to block Raffa in the lane, leading to a transition layup for Marshall Harris III that got the Dogs within 14 points of Coastal Carolina.
Raffa scored 10 of the final 15 points for Coastal Carolina over the final 7:24 of the contest, as Ellis remained perfect in 10 contests against The Citadel in career with the 80-58 win.
Groselle and Smith managed six points apiece to lead seven players in scoring, as the Bulldogs hit 11-for-27 (40.7%) in the opening half, including four from beyond the arc. Groselle was responsible for three of those made field goals as he finished 3-of-6 from the field along with a pair of offensive rebounds. Moore grabbed three rebounds as The Citadel totaled with 13 first half boards, including four on the offensive glass.
The Coastal Carolina lineup knocked down scintillating 20-of-32 (62.5%) from the floor, converting 4-of-9 from 3-point range, to close the first half with a 47-27 lead. It marked the first time that an opponent has shot better than 60-percent in the opening half against the Dogs since Army on Nov. 12 in the All-Military Classic. Raffa led the Chanticleers with 12 points, hitting 5-of-8 from the field and a pair from beyond the arc, to go along with four rebounds. He also was the catalyst to the offense with four assists. Greenwood chipped in eight points by way of 4-of-6 shooting.
Sam McLaurin opened scoring with a layup that was quickly followed by Groselle to knot the game at 2-2 within the opening minute of the game. The Chanticleers rattled off eight of the next 10 points to establish a 10-4 lead on a layup by Greenwood. Moore retaliated with a 3-pointer on an assist from Wright as the Dogs remained within striking distance, 10-7.
A series of buckets by Greenwood and Raffa pushed Coastal Carolina into double figures, 14-9, before Wright drained a bucket on a pass from Groselle to make for the three-point deficit.
The Chants answered with a 25-5 offensive explosion, keyed by seven points from Dexter Moore, who drained two of three 3-pointers during the run. The Bulldogs managed two points each from Groselle and Morabbi during the 8:50 span, as Coastal Carolina pulled in front 39-16.
The Citadel closed out the first half with a series of 3-pointers from Smith and Bray as they outscored the Chanticleers 11-8 over the final 4:49 to pull within 20.
The Bulldogs will have the next eight days off for exams before meeting intracity rival Charleston Southern on Dec. 14 at McAlister Field House. For more information on Bulldog Basketball, visit the official website of The Citadel Athletics at www.CitadelSports.com.