Citadel outlasts UNC Greensboro in OT

Ashton Moore put 28 points up to lead the 'Dogs to victory

Ashton Moore put 28 points up to lead the ‘Dogs to victory

By Danny Reed
Special to The Post and Courier Jan 6 2015 12:39 am

Last year’s overtime loss to UNC Greensboro at the Greensboro Coliseum ripped The Citadel’s heart out. This year, it was another overtime affair at UNCG, but that heart is still beating. Ashton Moore poured in a season-high 28 points to lead the Bulldogs to an 85-83 triumph over UNCG (5-11, 1-2 SoCon) on Monday night and break a 22-game road losing streak for The Citadel (6-8, 1-2 SoCon) that dates back to Feb. 20, 2013, at Appalachian State, an 80-77 overtime win.

“This feels great. It just shows how much resilience our guys have,” said Moore, who was 9-of-13 shooting and made all seven of his free throws. “All the hard work that coach has been driving into us pays us in wins like this.” P.J. Horgan added 18 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots before fouling out in overtime, while Jake Wright hit four more 3’s for 12 points. Marshall Harris also scored 12 points, distributed a game-high seven assists and tied a career-high with four steals.

For the game, The Citadel shot 53 percent, knocked down 10 of 18 from downtown and outrebounded the noticeably bigger Spartans 31-28. “There’s no better feeling than to beat somebody on their home court and get on that bus and drive back and enjoy it,” said Bulldogs head coach Chuck Driesell. “They showed so much character tonight. I could not be prouder of this team.”

With the Bulldogs holding a 51-50 lead and 10:32 left in regulation, Moore went down with an apparent right leg injury but spent just 18 seconds of game action on the bench. He scored the next five points to keep The Citadel ahead, 56-50. His jumper with 2:58 left expanded the Bulldogs lead to 73-67, but the Spartans came back to tie the game 75-75 on Clay Byrd’s 3-pointer with 1:26 to play and then grabbed the lead at 77-75 via Tevon Saddler’s layup with 21 seconds to play.

On The Citadel’s last possession of regulation, Moore was fouled by Sadler with two seconds left in regulation while driving the lane. He calmly buried the corresponding free throws for a 77-77 tie and force overtime. Overall, the Bulldogs shot a remarkable 85 percent from the line (23-27). The 6-1 senior then scored five of The Citadel’s eight points in overtime, including the decisive jumper with 1:05 left for an 85-80 lead.

“The one thing I love about Ashton is that he learns something new from every situation he put in,” Driesell said. “He’s been in situations like this before, and he handled it really well tonight. That’s why he’s our go-to-guy.”

UNCG’s Kayel Locke, who scored all six Spartans points in the extra period, converted a three-point play on the next possession to trim the deficit to 85-83 with 48 seconds left. After the Bulldogs misfired, UNCG rushed into the frontcourt without a timeout at its disposal but could not attempt a field goal before the final buzzer sounded, erasing nearly two years’ worth of road futility for The Citadel. UNCG jumped out to a 7-0 lead just two minutes in, but The Citadel absorbed the blow spurred on by Harris, who scored nine straight points as part of a 13-0 run despite being hampered by a lingering ankle injury.

The Bulldogs led, 32-25, at halftime.

“I’m glad he’s healthy,” Driesell said. “I don’t think people realize how much of an impact he has because he runs our offense and he plays so much. His presence tonight was a big difference.”

But much like the Western Carolina game, The Citadel was slow out of the locker room for the second half getting outscored 13-4 over the first 4:52 and on the wrong side of a 38-36 score. CJ Bray’s jumphook with 14:08 left put the Bulldogs back in front 42-40 where they stayed until the final minute of regulation. Saddler scored a team-high 23 points for UNCG on 10-of-19 shooting.

The Citadel plays three of its next four games at home beginning with a Thursday night matchup versus Samford at McAlister Field House. Tipoff is set for 7:05 p.m.

Game Notes:
*This marks just the third win all-time for The Citadel at UNCG but first victory at the Greensboro Coliseum since Feb. 17, 1992. The Bulldogs’ win at UNCG on Dec. 4, 2008 occurred at the on-campus Fleming Gymnasium.

*With 18 points, PJ Horgan now has 503 for his career

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