CHARLESTON, S.C. – It was a story-book ending Saturday afternoon as Zane Najdawi, Lew Stallworth, Matt Frierson and Tyler Burgess led The Citadel men's basketball team to a come-from-behind, overtime win over Samford, 87-83, inside McAlister Field House. In the process, Stallworth eclipsed 1,000 points for his collegiate career, Najdawi set a career high with seven blocked shots, and both came excruciatingly close to recording The Citadel's first-ever triple-double.
Game Information Location: Charleston, S.C. (McAlister Field House) Final Score: The Citadel 87, Samford 83 Records: The Citadel (12-15, 4-12 SoCon), Samford (16-13, 7-9 SoCon) Series: The Citadel leads, 12-10 KEY PLAYS AND STATS
- It was a tale of two halves for The Citadel as the Bulldogs fell behind by double digits in the first half, but were able to rebound for a strong end to the game.
- The first half did not see much scoring as Samford took a 37-27 lead into the locker room at half time.
- The visiting Bulldogs shot 36.8 percent (14-of-38) in the opening stanza, while holding the home team to just 29.0 percent (9-of-31), including 28.0 percent (7-of-25) from beyond the arc.
- The home Bulldogs bounced back well in the second half, connecting on 45.7 percent (16-of-35) of their shot attempts from the field, including hitting on 36.8 percent (7-of-19) from beyond the 3-point arc.
- Nearly five minutes into the second half, Kaiden Rice hit one of his three 3-pointers to cut the Samford lead to a manageable three, 46-43.
- A few minutes later, the Samford lead was just one, 49-48, when Stallworth drove into the paint and put up a floater.
- With 9:17 to play, Najdawi hit one of his team-high eight field goals to put The Citadel up by one, 52-51.
- The lead changed hands three times from there, with The Citadel opening up a five-point, 61-56 lead with 5:46 to play when Najdawi tipped in a missed Frierson 3-pointer.
- With 1:38 left in regulation, Brandon Austin hit a 3-pointer that put Samford up by four, 69-65, but Stallworth and Najdawi combined to score the final six points for the home Bulldogs to send the game into overtime.
- With 46 seconds remaining, Najdawi knocked down his third 3-pointer of the game, and on the ensuing Samford possession, the Midlothian, Virginia native blocked Josh Sharkey's layup attempt to force overtime.
- In overtime, Samford managed to score five quick points to go up 76-71, but the Bulldogs methodically fought back and took the lead back for good with 1:44 left when Stallworth drained his game-high fifth 3-pointer.
- From there, The Citadel knocked down five free throws to seal the win.
- The Bulldogs were a perfect 8-for-8 at the charity stripe in overtime and shot 75.0 percent (3-of-4) from the field, while Samford hit just 37.5 percent (3-of-8) in overtime.
- For the game, The Citadel shot 40.0 percent (28-of-70) from the field, including sinking 16 3-pointers.
- Samford shot 39.4 percent (28-of-71) from the field for the game and knocked down 11 treys.
- Najdawi led all scorers with 24 points to go along with eight rebounds and a career-high seven blocks in 41 minutes of work.
- Stallworth was second on the team with 23 points, complimenting eight assists and five boards.
- Rice ended the game with 15 points, Alex Reed chipped in 12 and Frierson finished his 33 minutes of action with 11 points, including a trio of 3-pointers.
- Myron Gordon was the leading scorer for Samford with 23 points, while Ruben Guerrero and Robert Allen each had double-double performances. Guerrero finished with 11 points and 10 boards, Allen chipped in 13 points and a game-high 18 boards.
- The 12 wins this season match the 2016-17 team for most under head coach Duggar Baucom.
- With one home game remaining and an 8-6 home record, the Bulldogs are guaranteed a positive record at home for the first time since the 2016-17 season. That squad went 8-8 at home. The 2014-15 team was the last team to finish above .500 at home with an 8-6 record.
- The 87 points scored against Samford are the most for the Bulldogs since scoring 94 in a 110-94 loss to Longwood back on Dec. 29.
- Samford has had seven games go to overtime this season. The Bulldogs from Birmingham are 3-4 in overtime this season.
- Saturday marked just the second overtime game this season. The Bulldogs from Charleston are a perfect 4-0 in overtime in the last two seasons.
- With his 23 points scored, Stallworth eclipsed the 1,000-point mark for his collegiate career. He now boasts 1,012 career points and has eclipsed the 20-point mark 14 times this season.
- Stallworth's 545 points scored this season place him seventh in program history for points scored in a single season.
- Stallworth's 207 made field goals this season rank sixth in program history.
- Saturday, Stallworth matched his career high with five 3-pointers. The last time the point guard from Los Angeles, California converted five 3-pointers was during the 2016-17 season, on March 9, 2017 against the University of Missouri Kansas City.
- Najdawi set a career high with seven blocked shots, including four in the opening half. He is second all-time for blocked shots in program history with 193. He is 22 behind Kirill Misyuchenko (1995-98) for first.
- Najdawi recorded his 23rd career 20-point game, including four this season.
QUOTABLES FROM COACH BAUCOM “(Winning this game on Senior Day) is special for me, it’s special for the coaching staff, but it’s especially special for those seniors,” said Baucom.” I just couldn’t be more proud of those guys. (The game) was kind of crazy and the tale of two halves, and then we found ourselves down five at the start of overtime, but the guys never flinched. We just came down and made plays. Zane made a big two-pointer, and we made our foul shots. Zane made some free throws to ice it, then Matt made some to ice it. Lew got us in the right set, but the most pleasing thing was when the ball got on the floor (late in overtime), we had four of our five guys on the floor scrambling for that loose ball, and ultimately that’s what won us the game.
“It’s hard to describe (what the four seniors have meant),” said Baucom. “It’s been a blessing, not only winning basketball games with them, practicing with them, being around them so much. I’m going to miss them because they are such quality people. Tyler is gradating in three years, Matt and Zane both wear gold stars in the Corps and have had great careers, and then for Lew to come in here and have the year he has had, it just shows the leaders they all are.”