Samford tops The Citadel 69-65 on the road

Samford picked up a big SoCon road victory over The Citadel, 69-65, Saturday night.

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- In one of its toughest, most physical games of the 2012-13 season, the Samford University basketball team battled for a 69-65 Southern Conference road victory against The Citadel Bulldogs on Saturday in front of a rowdy crowd at McAlister Fieldhouse. {} "Our guys are learning how to win and they worked extremely hard tonight," said Samford head coach Bennie Seltzer. "They played great defense in order to get this win tonight, but every single night is going to be a different challenge for us. I'm really proud of our guys and how they stuck together even when The Citadel made their late run at us." {} With Saturday's triumph, Samford (5-12, 3-1 SoCon) earned its first victory at The Citadel (3-11, 0-4 SoCon) in school history. The Bulldogs also swept their Charleston trip against College of Charleston and The Citadel for the first time in school history. {} Samford's weekend SoCon sweep was also its first since the Bulldogs defeated Appalachian State and Wofford on the road last season Feb. 2 and 4. {} True freshman Clide Geffrard, Jr., scored a game-high 22 points Saturday's and turned in a stellar 7-of-11 shooting performance from the field, including a 2-for-3 outing from 3-point range. Geffrard, Jr., finished just two points shy of his career high of 24 points, but added five rebounds and six free throws. {} The Bulldogs' Raijon Kelly and Tim Williams both chipped in with 15 points apiece and combined to shoot 10-of-21 from the floor. Kelly added a team-high seven assists Saturday, while Williams played tough on the low block and finished with a Samford-best six rebounds. {} "We did a great job tonight of winning the 50-50 balls and making the hustle plays," Seltzer said. "If we're going to win basketball games, that's how we're going to have to do it. We have to get the loose balls, we have to do dive on the floor and our guys did that tonight, so when we play that way I really like our chances." {} Samford led by as many as 12 points in the first half, 33-21, but The Citadel used a season-high 11 3-point baskets to battle back and take a 39-38 advantage at the 16:55 mark in the second period. During their run, the Cadets received a pair of layups from All-SoCon performer Mike Groselle and a trio of 3-point baskets from Marshall Harris III. {} The Citadel's Harris III finished Saturday's game with 12 points and seven rebounds, while Matt Van Scyoc led the Cadets with 19 points and four 3-point baskets. Additionally, The Citadel received 11 key points from P.J. Horgan off the bench. {} The teams fought tooth and nail in the second half and there were eight lead changes in Saturday's tough SoCon matchup. {} Down the stretch, with 2:48 remaining in the game, The Citadel's Ashton Moore connected on a 3-point basket to trim Samford's lead to 63-62. The Bulldogs then received two huge free throws from Williams, as well as a pair each from both Geffrard, Jr., and Kelly. {} Kelly's free throws with 22 seconds remaining iced the game as he gave Samford a decisive 69-63 advantage. The Citadel's Groselle scored a layup at the buzzer to trim the Bulldogs' final victory tally to 69-65. {} "I'm proud of how our guys stuck together and how they really fought hard tonight," said Seltzer. "The Citadel shot lights out against us, but I'm very proud of our guys and how they kept up their intensity throughout the game." {} Samford finished Saturday's road triumph shooting 48.9 percent from the field and 46.2 percent from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs have continued their hot 3-point shooting and finished 6-of-13 from long range. {} Sophomore Connor Miller knocked down a pair of key 3-pointers for Samford and registered eight points and four rebounds during a 3-of-7 performance from the field. The Bulldogs also received five points from Will Cook and four points off the bench from Tyler Hood. {} Following a physical, hotly-contested first half, the Bulldogs held a 35-31 advantage over The Citadel at the intermission. Samford's Geffrard, Jr., led the team in scoring in the first half with 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field. The Bulldogs' true freshman from Pompano Beach, Fla., also drained both of his 3-point attempts in the opening half. {} Fellow true freshman Williams added nine first-half points for Samford, while Kelly and Miller chipped in with seven and five, respectively. {} "We just found a way to win tonight," said Seltzer. "When we play that way, it's really fun to watch. I told our guys that we have a huge homestand coming up and when we step out on the court Thursday it's going to have some special meaning, because we'll be playing for a share of first place in the North Division. {} The Samford University basketball team will next be in action Thursday at 7 p.m. (CST) as the Bulldogs begin a critical two-game homestand against the Western Carolina Catamounts to be held at the Pete Hanna Center.