January 11, 2013

Citadel, Samford Battle on Hardwoods Saturday Evening at McAlister

Game Notes

— The Citadel basketball team makes a quick turnaround for its second Southern Conference home game in three nights when it welcomes Samford to McAlister Field on Saturday at 7:05.

The Citadel (3-10, 0-3 SoCon) is looking to halt a season-long nine-game losing streak, while earning their eighth victory in the all-time series against Samford (4-12, 2-1). The Cadets have won the last five consecutive games in the series, dating back to a 51-50 victory in Birmingham on Jan. 16, 2010. 

BROKEN BENCH: With The Citadel's inability to manufacture any bench points against Chattanooga on Thursday evening, the Bulldogs snapped a 259-game streak of scoring at least one point. The last time that this took place came on March 3, 2004, during a Southern Conference Tournament contest with Elon.

In the game with Elon, the Dogs reserves finished a combined 0-4 from the floor and did not attempt a single free throw. Most recently against Chattanooga, The Citadel bench was 0-7 from the field and in similar fashion made no trips to the charity stripe.

The most single-digit bench outputs by The Citadel during a season, since 2000-01, came during the 2007-08 campaign when Bulldog reserves were limited to single digits in 13 contests. Of those games, 11 were against Southern Conference opposition. The Cadets also endured a six-game and a five-game stretch in which they failed to eclipse double-digits.

EARNING THEIR STRIPES: After combining for 30 points, knocking down 11-of-26 (42.3%) from the field, freshman starters Raemond Robinson and Matt Van Scyoc joined exclusive company against Chattanooga on Thursday evening.

The duo became the first set of Citadel rookie starters to eclipse a combined 30 points since a 34-point outing by Ashton Moore and C.J. Bray in last season's 91-74 victory over UVA-Wise. The two hit 11-of-20 (55%) from the field that night and were successful on 9-of-11 (81.8%) free throws. Individually, Moore became the first Citadel freshman in program history to score 30 points, hitting 10-of-16 from the floor and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.

Furthermore, Robinson and Van Scyoc became the first Citadel freshman starters to combine for at least 30 points in a league game for the Dogs since Austin Dahn, Matt Clark, Zach Urbanus, Cameron Wells and Daniel Eykyn scored 42 of the team's 48 points in a 66-48 loss to College of Charleston at the 2008 Southern Conference Tournament. The five combined to hit 16-of-41 (39%) from the floor in the affair.

MARSHALL LAW: After finishing 4-of-4 from the free throw line on Thursday, sophomore guard Marshall Harris III extended his career-long consecutive free throw streak to 16. Harris last missed a free throw in the first half against Charleston Southern on Dec. 4.

Following consecutive 4-for-4 performances against Western Carolina and Chattanooga, respectively, the San Antonio, Texas, native has now finished a game perfect from the line on six occasions this season.

Harris has improved upon his 70 percent free throw mark from a year ago, in which he converted 42-of-60 attempts, by 22.9 percent this season. Harris ranks fifth nationally among the nation's best free throw shooters.

LAST MEETING WITH SAMFORD (Jan. 7, 2012): The tandem of Mike Groselle and Cosmo Morabbi accounted for 45 points as The Citadel won their first Southern Conference game of the season, 73-62, over Samford. Groselle scored 25 points to tie his career-high and by virtue of finishing 10-for-10 from the floor set a program record that was previously held by John Sutor and Ted Mosay for highest field goal percentage. Meanwhile, Morabbi established a new career-high, 20 points, to go along with six assists and four steals. It marked the third time in the span of the last five games that Morabbi topped double figures for the Dogs.

The Citadel knocked down 26-of-46 (56.5%) from the floor, including a 6-for-14 performance from beyond the arc. Groselle and Morabbi, who finished 6-of-12 from the field, including four 3-pointers, were joined by the likes of Ashton Moore (4-11) and DeVontae Wright (3-5). Wright was responsible for eight of the Dogs' 21 assists, establishing a career-high. Teammate C.J. Bray anchored the paint, outmuscling Samford for eight rebounds, including two on the offensive glass. Groselle pitched in seven rebounds as the Cadets had 28 as a team.

Samford was led offensively by the trio of Drew Windler (16 points), Will Cook (13 points) and Tyler Hood (10 points). Windler managed 6-of-15 from the floor, while Cook and Hood added five field goals apiece. The visiting Bulldogs finished 25-of-58 (43.1%) from the floor and 7-of-29 (24.1%) from 3-point range. However, Cook grabbed seven boards (three offensive), to lead nine Samford in players in rebounding. That gave the Bulldogs a 38-28 edge on the glass.

BREAKING DOWN SAMFORD (4-12 Overall/ 2-1 SoCon)

BULLDOGS KNOCK OFF CofC FOR FIRST TIME IN PROGRAM HISTORY: The Samford University basketball team defeated the College of Charleston Cougars for the first time in school history Thursday as the Bulldogs rallied from a nine-point deficit with 4:54 remaining to earn a thrilling 62-57 Southern Conference triumph held at TD Arena.

Samford also snapped a 12-game losing streak against College of Charleston in a rivalry dating all the way back to Jan. 3, 1994. Additionally, the Bulldogs picked up their first win in Charleston since topping Baptist College (now Charleston Southern) on Nov. 25, 1978.

Samford led for a majority of the first half and took a 29-24 advantage into the locker room at the intermission.

College of Charleston, the highest-rated team in the SoCon with an 89 RPI, came out strong in the second half and took its first lead of the game at the 13:49 mark in the final period, 36-35. The Cougars opened the half with an 11-6 run and were buoyed by the play of 2012 Olympian Andrew Lawrence.

Lawrence, a native of London, England, was a member of his home country's Olympic team over the summer and scored four quick points for the Cougars in the first half.

College of Charleston took advantage of its early momentum in the final period and later extended its lead to nine points, 53-44, with 4:54 to play.

At that point late in the game, Samford's Will Cook ignited the Bulldogs' comeback with a key 3-point basket from the right flank. True freshman Tim Williams then scored back-to-back layups to trim the Cougars' advantage to 53-51 with 2:44 remaining in the game.

College of Charleston's Anthony Stitt was then able to answer with a driving layup of his own to stop Samford's 7-0 run, but then the Bulldogs bounced right back to score eight more points to take a key 59-54 lead with just 24 seconds left to play.

During Samford's game-winning run down the stretch, Kelly knocked down a jumper from the free-throw line, Clide Geffrard, Jr., drained a clutch 3-point basket from the left wing and Connor Miller sent the Bulldogs' bench into jubilation with a critical 3-pointer to give Samford its five-point lead.

College of Charleston's Lawrence then wisely drove in for an uncontested layup while the Bulldogs were avoiding foul calls to trim Samford's lead to 59-57 with 17 seconds to play.

The basket would prove to be the Cougars' final bucket of the game as Kelly connected on three free throws to secure Samford's 62-57 victory.

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