Citadel sophomore guard Lawrence Miller notched a career-high 20 points, but it was the 33-point effort of Air Force sharpshooter Michael Lyons that made the difference as the Falcons captured the 2012 ARMY ROTC All-Military Classic by a final margin of 77-70.
Miller was one of three Citadel players to reach double figures, followed by Mike Groselle (17 points) and C.J. Bray, who also established a new career-high with 14 points. All of Miller's field goals came from beyond the arc, as he finished 6-of-9 to go along with a pair of free throws. Bray drained a pair of treys in the contest and hit 6-of-7 from the floor. Groselle came away with the team-high in rebounds, eight, as the Bulldogs finished with a 30-17 edge on the glass.
Both Miller and Groselle earned All-Tournament honors for their performances over the course of the two-day tournament.
The Citadel (1-1) shot 25-of-44 (56.8%) from the floor, including eight 3-pointers as a team. As a unit, the Cadets were again effective from the free throw line, hitting 12-of-16 attempts, converting 10 in the first half.
Air Force's offense came largely from 3-point range, as they finished 15-of-34 (44.1%) from long distance. Lyons lead the way with a 7-of-12 performance, while teammate Kyle Green hit 4-of-9 from beyond the arc. The Falcons managed nine shots in the perimeter, finishing 24-of-49 (49.0%) on the contest.
The Citadel extended its two-point halftime lead to 35-30, early in the second half with a 5-2 run highlighted by a Miller 3-pointer.
Air Force answered with series of 3-pointers by Green and Lyons, making for a 37-37 tie. Just under a minute later, with the teams deadlocked at 40, a pair of 3-pointers by Lyons and Green provided the Falcons with their second lead of the half, 49-40.
Groselle ended The Citadel's 3:46 scoring drought with a layup and following a Quinton Marshall jumper from the elbow, the Bulldogs trimmed the lead to five, 49-44.
Two long distance shots by Max Yon stretched the Air Force lead back to seven, 60-53, but The Citadel answered with points in the paint by Groselle and a 3-pointer from Bray to pull within 60-58 of the Falcons.
The Falcons regrouped following a timeout and came through with buckets by Mike Fitzgerald and Lyons to again move in front by seven, 65-58.
The Bulldogs responded with the inside-outside tandem of Groselle and Miller, who combined for five points in a 42 second stretch, to move back within one shot of a tie.
Lyons answered with two 3-pointers in a stretch of just over a minute to push the AFA lead back to five, 71-66. The Citadel pulled within three points on just one occasion in the final minute, but it was six Falcon free throws that sealed the 77-70 victory.
Behind eight points by Miller and seven off the bench by Moore, The Citadel held a slim 30-28 lead at the half. Miller was a perfect 2-of-2 in the opening frame, connecting on a pair of 3-pointers, while Moore was 3-of-4 from the field and knocked down a free throw.
Air Force countered with 16 points from Lyons, the only player to reach double figures in the first half, as the Falcons converted 9-of-17 field goal attempts, including five from long distance.
The visiting Falcons streaked out to an 11-5 advantage in the first half, using three 3-pointers from the combination of Green and Lyons to establish themselves early.
The Citadel offense eventually settled its flow after a series of miscues, using scores by Moore and Bray to knot the game at 15-15 with less than nine minutes remaining.
Two 3-pointers by Lyons again provided the Falcons with a lead, 21-17, but it was The Citadel's free throw shooting that allowed them to get back into the contest. The combination of Groselle, Harris and Dylen Setzekorn converted six free throws over a 1:34 stretch to tie the game at 25 all.
A Miller 3-pointer at the 1:39 mark gave the Dogs their first lead of the half, 28-25, as The Citadel closed with a jumper by Moore in the waning seconds to hold the two-point advantage as the teams headed to halftime.
The Citadel returns to action on Wednesday evening when they host Montreat College at 7:05 p.m.
2012 Army ROTC All-Tournament Team
Ella Ellis, Army
Lawrence Miller, The Citadel
Mike Groselle, The Citadel
Michael Lyons, Air Force
MVP: Michael Lyons, Air Force