Ashton Moore scored a game-high 24 points and Matt Van Scyoc added 20 as The Citadel eliminated sixth-seeded UNCG with an 86-76 victory in the first round of the Southern Conference Tournament in Asheville, N.C.
The win extends the Bulldogs' streak to three games and marks the first in tournament play under head coach Chuck Driesell.
It is the first time since a 55-43 win over Samford in the 2010 conference tourney that The Citadel has advanced to the second round. It sets the stage for a meeting with in-state rival Wofford on Saturday evening at 8:30. The 94th clash between the two Palmetto State programs will be the first time that they have ever met in the league tournament.
Moore, who topped the 20-point plateau for the seventh time against a SoCon opponent, finished 7-of-16 from the field, 3-of-6 from beyond the arc and knocked down 7-of-8 at the charity stripe.
Van Scyoc capped off his seventh 20-point outing by shooting 7-of-11 from the floor and 3-of-6 from 3-point range. In the second half, Van Scyoc hit 5-of-8 from the floor, including a pair of treys, en route to scoring 15 points.
Moore and Van Scyoc became the ninth set of Citadel teammates to score 20 points each in a SoCon Tournament game since 1961.
Driesell's squad captured the 13th victory in a SoCon Tournament game in program history by hitting 26-of-50 (52%) from the field and 10-of-19 (52.6%) from 3-point range. The Dogs also capitalized on 24-of-33 (72.7%) shooting at the free throw line, highlighted by the performances of Moore, Harris III (5-6) and C.J. Bray (4-5).
Kyle Cain led four UNCG players in double figures with 18 points. He was joined offensively by Tevon Saddler (15 points), TJ White (15) and Kayel Locke (12). Locke was also a force on the glass for the Spartans with seven rebounds (two offensive).
Cain, who hit 9-of-17, was the individual leader for a UNCG unit that finished 28-of-63 (44.4%) from the floor.
Five quick points by Van Scyoc allowed The Citadel to outscore UNCG 9-4 to open the second half as the Bulldogs assumed a 48-34 advantage following a pair of free throws by Tom Koopman at the 17:28 mark. A 7-2 run highlighted by six points from White allowed the Spartans to pull within nine, but it was five points by Van Scyoc in a 1:04 stretch that pushed the margin to 57-45.
Saddler connected on a jumper just over the midway point of the second half, pulling the Spartans within 61-53, but that was as close as UNCG would come for the remainder of the contest.
Trailing 13-11 following a jumper by Locke at the 13:08 mark, The Citadel responded with a 16-6 run that included two 3-pointers off the hand of Warren Sledge to take the first double figure lead of the half.
The Spartans briefly trimmed the lead to 29-22, following a long distance shot by Paulos, but a jumper by Moore in the paint combined with Raemond Robinson's first 3-pointer of the contest stretched the lead to 11.
UNCG pieced together a brief run that included three points by Locke and a jumper by Cain to make for a 34-28 Citadel lead with 3:28 remaining.
The Citadel turned up its defensive pressure and used five points by Moore over the remainder of the half to close out the first half with a 39-30 advantage.