Citadel snaps 12 game skid

(Citadel SID)

STATESBORO, Ga. - Matt Van Scyoc scored a game-high 21 points and led three Citadel players in double figures as the Bulldogs snapped a 12-game losing streak with a 70-55 victory over Georgia Southern at Hanner Field House. The Green Lake, Wisc., freshman guided the Dogs to their first 60 percent shooting performance (24-40) since a meeting with Davidson on Jan. 26, 2011.

Van Scyoc established a new season-high in points after hitting 7-of-11 from the floor and 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. Those five treys topped a Citadel lineup that finished 9-of-17 (52.9%) from the perimeter. The freshman swingman also finished a perfect 2-of-2 at the free throw line and made his presence felt defensively with two blocks in 36 minutes.

Also reaching double-digits for The Citadel (4-13, 1-6 SoCon) were Mike Groselle (15) and Marshall Harris III (11). Groselle notched his 14th double figure outing of the season after hitting 6-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe. Harris eclipsed the mark with a 3-of-5 performance from the field, which included two 3-pointers. He also knocked down 3-of-4 from the free throw line to help The Citadel end the game 13-of-16 (81.3%) from the charity stripe.

The front line of Groselle and P.J. Horgan combined for 16 rebounds, including three offensive, as The Citadel outrebounded Georgia Southern 29-28. This provided a 28-18 edge in points in the paint and accounted for 11 second chance points.

Georgia Southern (8-11, 2-4) also managed to place three players in double figures, including C.J. Reed who netted a team-high 13 points. Reed finished 5-of-13 from the floor, converting three from beyond the perimeter, in 33 minutes of action. Reed was joined offensively by the duo of Tre Bussey (12) and Eric Ferguson (10). Ferguson crashed the glass for a team-high eight rebounds (two offensive).

Entering the second half with a nine point lead, Harris found Van Scyoc in the far corner of the court for a 3-pointer to stretch advantage to 34-22, just 52 seconds into the frame.

Just under five minutes later, following five unanswered points by Reed, Georgia Southern trimmed the margin to 37-29.

Following a series of missed shots by both teams, Groselle grabbed the defensive rebound and quickly found Janeil Jenkins in transition. Jenkins converted the old-fashioned three-point play and pushed the lead back to double figures, 40-29.

Marvin Baynham helped Georgia Southern to again trim the margin to single digits, before a second trey by Van Scyoc provided a 12-point lead, 43-31, with 13:02 left on the clock.

A pair of 3-pointers by Van Scyoc provided The Citadel with a 14-point on two occasions over the next three minutes, but Reed and Bussey answered the challenge to keep the margin at 11.

In front by a score of 53-39, following a Van Scyoc 3-pointer, The Citadel's defensive pressure forced Bussey to miss a 3-pointer, again opening up the transition game. It was there that Harris dished out one of his team-high six assists to Horgan in the paint, extending the lead to 16.

Just over a minute later, leading 57-41, Groselle drove the lane and provided the Bulldogs with an 18-point cushion, their largest of the contest.

Georgia Southern would pull no closer than 13 points over the final 6:28 of the contest as The Citadel earned its first Southern Conference victory of the season.

Behind an 11-of-19 (57.9%) shooting performance from the floor, which included four 3-pointers, The Citadel took a 31-22 lead at the close of the first half. It marked the fourth time in the last five meetings against Georgia Southern that the Dogs have hit better than 50 percent in the first half.

The combination of Groselle, Horgan, Harris and Miller shared team-high honors in scoring with six points apiece. Both Groselle and Horgan finished 2-of-3 from the field, while Harris knocked down 2-of-4 field goals, including one from long distance. Miller poured in six points off the bench after connecting on a pair of 3-pointers in the final two minutes of action.

Horgan, making his first start of the season, responded with a team-high five rebounds to give The Citadel 13 in the half. He was joined up front by Groselle, who grabbed three, including one on the offensive glass.

Georgia Southern opened the game by hitting 9-of-26 (34.6%) from the field, converting just one 3-pointer along the way. The Eagles were led in scoring by Ferguson, who closed the first half with five points on 2-of-3 shooting. He also posted a team-high four rebounds.

The Citadel established a 5-1 lead in the early going behind a 3-pointer from Van Scyoc and a floater in the lane by Harris. However, that lead quickly evaporated, due in large part to Bussey's four points in less than a minute, as Georgia Southern crawled back in front, 6-5, at the 14:34 mark.

In the tightly contested battle Georgia Southern was unable to stretch the lead to greater than four points over the next six minutes. Trailing 12-8, following a layup by the Eagles' Sam Mike, the Bulldogs turned to Groselle who provided four of the game's next eight points, to keep within striking distance.

A Citadel turnover opened the door for a Ferguson jumper, giving Georgia Southern an 18-12 advantage, which was answered by a 7-0 Bulldog run over the next 2:25 of the contest.

In that stretch The Citadel took advantage of six points from Horgan and a long range 3-pointer by Harris to regain the lead, 19-18, with 4:06 on the clock. Just under a minute later, Horgan found Groselle in the post to push the margin to three.

Turning up their defensive intensity the Bulldogs allowed just four Georgia Southern points over the final 3:24 of the half. Meanwhile, The Citadel offense flourished with 13 points during that span, highlighted by Miller's six points, all coming from beyond the arc.

The Citadel returns to action on Jan. 24 when the Bulldogs head to College of Charleston for a 7:30 p.m. meeting with their crosstown rivals.

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