Citadel center Mike Groselle finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds, notching the 23rd double-double of his career, as the Bulldogs earned an 84-76 victory in the Army ROTC All-Military Classic at McAlister Field House. The win sets up a meeting with Air Force for the championship on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.
Groselle, who set a new program record with 23 double-doubles, led all Citadel players by hitting 9-of-11 from the field. He was joined in double figure scoring by teammates Marshall Harris III, who added 19, and Matt Van Scyoc, who drained a pair of 3-pointers en route to an 18-point performance. Van Scyoc was one of three Bulldogs to knock down multiple treys, along with Dylen Setzekorn (2-2) andC.J. Bray (2-3). Harris dished out a game-high nine assist to guide The Citadel to its 51st season-opening win at home in program history.
The Citadel controlled the glass with 39 rebounds, including 11 offensive, highlighted by Groselle's 15 boards. Van Scyoc also made his presence felt with seven rebounds, hauling in a pair on offense. Another key for the Bulldogs came from the free throw line as the team finished 23-of-28 (82.1%), led by Harris' 12-of-13 outing.
VMI finished with four players in double figures, led by Brian Brown, who scored 22 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the field. The trio of D.J. Covington (15 points), Stan Okoye (14 points) and Rodney Glascow (11 points) rounded out double-digit scorers for the Keydets, who ended the game hitting 27-of-68 (39.7%) from the floor. The Keydets managed 14 3-pointers as a unit, converting 37.8 percent from beyond the arc, led by Glascow's seven.
Covington was also a force in the paint for VMI, with nine rebounds, including six offensive boards. Okoye finished with six rebounds, pulling down two in favor of the Keydets. As a unit, Virginia Military totaled 33 rebounds, 14 on the offensive glass.
Van Scyoc opened second half scoring with a 3-pointer, breaking a 34-34 tie, but the lead by the Bulldogs was brief as VMI countered with buckets from Covington and Glascow to forge in front, 39-37.
A 3-pointer by Bray, followed by a Groselle layup, sent the game to an eventual 42-42 tie, with 17:17 left on the clock. Just over two minutes later, Groselle again knotted the contest for the sixth time, with a layup.
After Covington hit the front end of two VMI free throws, sending the game to a 51-51 tie, Quinton Marshall found Dylen Setzekorn for a 3-pointer to give The Citadel a lead that it would not relinquish.
Leading by eight, 62-54, following a pair of Van Scyoc free throws, The Citadel converted a pair of layups by Groselle and Setzekorn to stretch the lead to 66-56.
VMI responded behind the combination of Covington and Okoye, trimming the margin to 68-64, before The Citadel's Lawrence Miller answered with a layup and assist to Van Scyoc, who drove home the dunk to provide the Dogs with a 72-64 advantage.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Brown again drew VMI within a one possession of the lead, 72-70, before four points by Harris and a 3-pointer from Van Scyoc stretched the margin back to six, 78-72.
The Citadel converted four free throws over the final 2:12 of the contest to complete the 84-76 victory.
Harris connected on all eight first half free throws to lead the way for the Bulldogs with eight points. Groselle closely followed with seven points to go along with seven rebounds as The Citadel and VMI entered deadlocked at 34.
The Bulldogs knocked down 10-of-34 (38.5%) from the floor in the opening frame, keyed by Groselle who finished 3-of-6. Among those 10 field goals was a pair of 3-pointers, off the hands of Bray and Setzekorn. The first half key for the Cadet offense was hitting 12-of-15 (80%) from the from the free throw line.
VMI countered with a 13-of-35 (37.1%) performance from the field in the first half, draining six 3-pointers along the way. Brown, who hit four 3-pointers, finished the half with 12 points to lead both teams.
The Keydets opened with the first five points of the contest and eventually assumed a 16-8 lead on a layup by Okoye. The Bulldogs reached double figures with a layup by Stephen Elmore, before a 3-pointer by Glascow provided VMI with its largest lead of the half, 21-10.
Van Scyoc started an 11-0 Citadel run with a layup, quickly followed by a pair of Harris free throws. Bray continued to turn the momentum in favor of The Citadel when he sent home a Miller pass for a 3-pointer. Just under a minute later, Bray knotted the game up, 21-21, on a jumper from the right elbow.
The two teams endured a drought of 2:10 as VMI snapped the scoreless streak with five consecutive points, including a 3-pointer from Brown, to regain the lead, 26-21. The Citadel bounced back with six unanswered points, four coming from the free throw line, to move in front 27-26.
After reaching a 29-29 tie, a 3-pointer off the hand of Setzekorn and free throws by Harris moved the Dogs in front 34-29. VMI wrapped up first half scoring with a long distance shot by Brown and a dunk from Phillip Anglade to make for a tie at the intermission.
AIR FORCE 76, ARMY 65
Michael Lyons led four Air Force players in double figures with a game-high 19 points, including a career-high 12 from the free throw line, as the Falcons defeated Army 76-65 Saturday in the first round of the season-opening All-Military Classic in Charleston, S.C. The Falcons rallied from a 15-point deficit early in the second half and closed the game with a 27-7 run over the last 11:25.
Lyons sparked the Air Force comeback with nine points, including the final six, in a 12-6 run that closed a 50-37 Army lead to 56-49 with 11:40 remaining. Army's Kevin Ferguson responded with a bucket at the 11:25 mark, but the Falcons then reeled off 10 straight points, including five by Mike Fitzgerald and four by Todd Fletcher, to take a 59-58 lead with 7:12 left.
It was back and forth for the next three minutes until Ella Ellis sank a three-pointer for the Black Knights at the 3:46 mark giving Army a 65-63 lead. Those were the final points for Army as the Falcons scored the last 13 points of the contest, including six from center Taylor Broekhuis, who finished with 14 points.
"All five of our seniors really stepped up when we needed them to today," said Air Force head coach Dave Pilipovich. "They got us through when we struggled and excelled the last 10 minutes of the game."
Fletcher went 7-for-10 from the field and scored 16 points for Air Force. He also collected a career-high six steals, while Kyle Green added 11 points and DeLovell Earls dished out a team-high three assists. Broekhuis and Fitzgerald led the Falcons with six rebounds apiece. Air Force shot 50 percent (25-of-50) from the field and 77 percent (20-of-26) from the free-throw line, including an impressive 82.6 percent (19-of-23) in the second half.
The Falcons jumped out to an early 12-5 lead in the first five minutes of the game, but Army outscored Air Force 32-18 the rest of the half to take a 37-30 lead at halftime. The Black Knights threatened to runaway with the game with a 10-2 run after the break to grab their largest lead at 47-32 just three minutes into the second stanza.
"We got off to our great start because of our defense, but then we went through a lull on that end of the court," said Pilipovich. "They (Army) were very effective on offense late in the first half. We wanted to get a good start in the second half, but they tested us and we could have gone either way after they took a 15-point lead. We went the right way by getting stops and going to the basket for some east scores."