Groselle Nets Game-High 22 Points in 67-66 Heartbreaker Against UNC Greensboro
Charleston, S.C.— In a game where the lead changed hands four times in the final 18 seconds as UNC Greensboro came away with a game-winning dunk by Trevis Simpson to down The Citadel, 67-66, in front of a shocked crowd at McAlister Field House. In the waning seconds of the game, the Dogs DeVontae Wright hit a long jumper from just inside the 3-point line for the apparent winner, before an official review gave the Spartans 0.9 seconds which eventually turned into 0.5 seconds following a Citadel deflection. That deflection led to the Simpson score, following an in-bounds pass from Drew Parker, cinching the Spartan victory.
Center Mike Groselle recorded his seventh career 20-point outing, finishing with 22 points and nine rebounds, both game-highs. Groselle finished 7-of-17 from the floor, but made a significant impact by hitting 8-of-9 from the free throw line. Wright closed the game with 10 points to go along with seven assists, marking the only other Bulldog to reach double figures. As a unit, The Citadel finished 22-of-44 (50%) from the floor, including an 8-for-13 (61.5%) performance from 3-point range. Six Bulldogs, including Ashton Moore (2-3) and C.J. Bray (2-3), finished with a 3-pointer in the contest. The Cadets hauled in 31 rebounds, six on the offensive glass, however slipped to 4-13 overall and 1-5 in Southern Conference play.
The Spartans (4-14, 2-4 SoCon) answered with 19 points from Simpson and 13 by teammate Korey Van Dussen. Simpson shot 6-of-12 from the field and converted 6-of-7 from the free throw line. Meanwhile, Van Dussen was 4-of-7 from the floor and knocked down all five free throw attempts. He was one of five Spartans to finish with multiple free throws, as they hit 18-of-22 (81.8%) as a team. A team with a decisive advantage on the offensive boards against their competition this season, UNCG grabbed only five in the game. Senior Aaron Brackett cleared the glass for five rebounds, four on the defensive end.
Simpson proved to be a nuisance early in the second half, scoring five of UNCG's first seven points of the frame to provide a 39-38 lead on a series of free throws at the 17:16 mark.
The Citadel answered in their next possession when Wright found Moore at the right elbow for an open 3-pointer and the 41-39 lead. The Dogs lead reached four, on two occasions, before buckets by Armstrong and Van Dussen tied the game for the sixth time, 45-45.
UNCG appeared to take command of the contest with a 12-3 run that took 4:23 off the clock, as Kyle Randall found Simpson for an uncontested 3-pointer and the 57-48 lead.
Behind a crowd of 1,026 in attendance, The Citadel began its rally with free throws by Bo Holston and Wright, which drew the Dogs within 57-51 of the lead. The combination of four straight points by Groselle and tough Citadel defense trimmed the lead to 59-55 with 3:14 remaining.
The Dogs followed a series of free throws by UNCG's Aloysius Henry with a 3-pointer by Bray to make for a 61-58 Spartan lead with 2:24 on the clock.
Trailing 63-58, The Citadel again turned to Groselle for offense, who answered by laying up a Wright pass and drawing a foul from Brackett to make for a two-point game.
The Bulldogs defensive pressure forced a Simpson miss, which was answered on the offensive end by Wright, who made the front end of two free throw attempts.
After holding UNCG scoreless, Wright found Groselle in the paint for a turnaround layup off the glass, making for a 64-63 Bulldog advantage with 18 seconds. Armstrong drove the lane for the Spartans, converting the layup with eight seconds remaining to regain the one-point lead.
Citadel Head Coach Chuck Driesell spent his final 30-second timeout to set up the play that led to Wright's jumper from the right elbow. UNCG attempted a length of the court pass that was knocked out of bounds by Groselle with 0.5 seconds remaining. It was there that Parker found Simpson for the game-winning dunk and the 67-66 final.
The Citadel offense was clicking on all cylinders in the first half, taking advantage of six 3-pointers from six different players. The Bulldogs finished 12-of-27 (44.4%) from the floor and held a 36-32 lead as the two teams headed into the intermission. Groselle finished with scoring honors at the break, scoring 11 points, keyed by a 5-for-6 performance from the charity stripe. The biggest lift for the Dogs was the bench play of Harris (six points) and Miller (five points), each responsible for a 3-pointer. The Cadets were also active on the boards, posting 20 rebounds, six offensive, led by Groselle's six and four each from the tandem of Moore and Bray.
UNC Greensboro struggled with The Citadel defense throughout the opening frame, knocking down 10-of-26 (38.5%) from the floor. Williams lead the way for the Spartans with eight points, followed by seven from Van Dussen and five by Simpson. UNCG took advantage of the six points on the fast break points and also held a slight 9-5 edge in points off turnovers. The Spartans generated 11 points from the free throw line, as Van Dussen was successful on all five attempts.
UNCG sprinted out to a 7-1 run over the first 2:47 of the contest, capped off by a layup by Williams, before the Dogs answered with an 11-4 run of their own sparked by a 3-pointer by Bray. The Cadets followed a Groselle layup with a series of long range shots by Wright and Morabbi to assume their first lead of the contest, 12-11, at the 14:27 mark.
The two teams played to an 18-18 tie at the 10:39 mark, after points in the paint by Williams, which was quickly answered by a 3-pointer from Miller. Henry responded with a trey for UNCG to deadlock the game at 21 all. Miller again came through in the clutch for the Dogs, providing a two-point advantage at the 6:30 mark.
After a climatic 23-23 tie, The Citadel made an 11-3 run which included two 3-pointers and six points off the hand of Harris III. Harris III teamed with Moore to account for the final six points of the run, giving the Dogs a 34-26 advantage with 2:41 left.
UNC Greensboro capped went into the intermission by scoring six of the final 10 points, highlighted by Van Dussen who converted four free throws.
The Citadel will break from action for one week before traveling to Davidson on Jan. 21 for a meeting with North Division rival Davidson. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. at Belk Arena.