Citadel seniors came up through in the clutch on Senior Day, lifting the Bulldogs to an 84-80 overtime win over Samford at McAlister Field House on Saturday.
Zane Najdawi took a bounce pass from fellow senior Matt Frierson and hit a tying 3-pointer with 22 seconds left in regulation, then blocked a Samford shot at the buzzer to force overtime.
Graduate-student transfer Lew Stallworth put the Bulldogs ahead to stay in OT with a 3-pointer with 1:44 left, and that trio combined to make five free throws to ice the game, snapping a three-game skid for The Citadel.
"It's special for me, it's special for the coaching staff, but it's especially special for those seniors," said Citadel coach Duggar Baucom, who helped honor Najdawi, Frierson, Stallworth and fellow senior Tyler Burgess before the game. "I just couldn't be more proud of those guys."
Najdawi scored 24 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked a career-best seven shots as The Citadel (12-15, 4-12 Southern Conference) rallied from a 10-point deficit. Stallworth, who went over the 1,000-point mark for his career, had 23 points, eight assists and five rebounds, while Frierson scored 11 points.
Kaiden Rice added 15 points, six rebounds and three assists, while Alex Reed had 12 points and eight rebounds.
"The game was kind of crazy and the tale of two halves," said Baucom, whose team trailed 37-27 at the half. "And then we found ourselves down by five at the start of overtime, but the guys never flinched."
Samford (16-13, 7-9), which is 3-4 in overtime games this season, had five players in double figures, led by Myron Gordon with 23. Two Samford players had double figures as Robert Allen went for 13 points and 18 rebounds, and Ruben Guerrero had 11 points and 10 boards.
In OT, Samford went up by five on a 3-pointer from Gordon and a layup from Allen. The Citadel's Reed drove the lane for a bucket to cut the gap to 80-78 with 2:28 left before Stallworth's go-ahead trey with 1:44 left.
Two free throws by Frierson made it 87-83 with 12 seconds left, and The Citadel's Derek Webster Jr. was credited with two blocked shots in the final three seconds.
• Stallworth now has 1,012 points for his career, including 545 this season, which places him seventh on The Citadel's single-season list. His 207 field goals rank sixth in program history.
• Najdawi's career-best seven blocks gave him 193 for his career, No. 2 on The Citadel's career list and 22 behind No. 1 Kirill Misyuchenko.
• The Bulldogs' final home game of the season is next Thursday against UNC Greensboro.