For the fourth time in his Citadel career senior Mike Groselle scored 20 points against UNCG, but it was the Spartans hot hand that made the difference 84-54 Southern Conference opener for both teams at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Groselle scored nearly half of The Citadel's point total, hitting 6-of-12 from the field and adding eight points from the free throw line. It marked the Plano, Texas native's second 20-point performance of the campaign and the first since the season-opening win over VMI. He was joined in scoring guard Ashton Moore who added 11 points, all in the second half, on 5-of-14 shooting in his first start of the 2012-13 season. Both Groselle and Moore were also responsible for the Bulldogs' team-high four rebounds.
The Citadel (3-3, 0-1 SoCon) finished 17-of-55 (30.9%) from the field, tying a season-low in 3-pointers with five. However, one bright spot for the Dogs was hitting 15-of-21 (71.4%) from the charity stripe, marking the fifth time in six games that the team hit better than 70-percent from the line.
UNCG (2-5, 1-0 SoCon) snapped its four-game losing streak behind its 33-of-56 (58.9%) shooting from the floor. The Spartans finished 11-of-21 (52.4%) from beyond the arc behind the tandem of Drew Parker (3-5) and Nicholas Paulos (3-4).
Parker led UNCG in scoring with 15 points while teammate Trevis Simpson added 14 points en route to becoming the 19th player in program history to top the 1,000-point mark in his career. Paulos led the Spartan reserves with 11 points in 17 minutes of action.
The host Spartans finished with a 41-22 edge on the glass, including 35 defensive rebounds, led by Korey Van Dussen's game-high six boards. Van Dussen was one of seven UNCG players to post three or more rebounds in the contest.
Trailing by 25 points at the intermission, The Citadel opened the second half with a 9-2 run, sparked by four points from Moore, to quickly trim the lead to 50-32.
The two teams traded 3-pointers, making for a 53-35 contest, before UNCG went on a 14-3 run that spanned the next 5:35 of the game, stretching the lead to 67-38.
Moore hit a running jumper in the lane which was quickly followed by a C.J. Bray 3-pointer as The Citadel trailed 69-43.
The UNCG lead twice reached 30 points over the next two minutes, but four points by Lawrence Miller and two by Moore made for a 75-51 score with 3:29 on the clock.
The Spartans closed the game on a 9-3 run with the only Citadel points coming on a Miller trey, as UNCG extended its winning streak in the series to five games against the Bulldogs.
Groselle led the way for The Citadel offense at the intermission, pouring in 13 of the team's 21 first half points, hitting 4-of-6 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. The Bulldogs managed just six field goals in the opening frame, including a lone Van Scyoc 3-pointer, to close 6-of-22 (27.3%) at the half.
Meanwhile, UNCG scorched the nets by hitting 18-of-27 (66.7%) from the floor, including a 8-of-12 (66.7%) performance from 3-point range.
Simpson led the way for the Spartans with 10 points, knocking down a team-high four field goals, nailing two from long distance. Teammate Drew Parker finished a perfect 3-of-3 from the field, hitting two 3-pointers in the process, to post eight points.
Four other Spartans finished with at least two field goals, including Paulos, who finished with a pair of 3-pointers and six points off the bench.
The Citadel and UNCG split the opening eight points of the contest as Stephen Elmore knotted the game at 4-4 following a pair of free throws. However, it was a 19-6 UNCG run over the next 6:12 of the contest that made the difference.
In that run, UNCG was on the receiving end of seven Simpson points and three 3-pointers, while The Citadel took advantage of five points from the combination of Groselle and Van Scyoc.
The Spartans continued their hot shooting performance, assuming a commanding 39-14 lead, keyed by long range buckets from the trio of Paulos, Parker and Simpson. The Bulldogs offense went through Groselle, who accounted for all four Citadel points in the span of 4:34.
Both teams scored seven points in the final 3:54 of the contest with Groselle sparking The Citadel offense with five points down the stretch. The remaining two points came off the hand of Elmore, who converted a pair of free throw attempts.
The Citadel returns to play on Tuesday, Dec. 4, when the Bulldogs head to intracity rival Charleston Southern for a 7:30 p.m. meeting with Buccaneers.