THE CITADEL 97, FLA. CHRISTIAN 44
After a deflating 23-point loss to Clemson last week, The Citadel's young basketball team needed a shot of confidence.
The Bulldogs got it Monday night at the expense of Florida Christian, as Mike Groselle put up his fifth straight double-double in a 97-44 victory before 807 fans at McAlister Field House.
Groselle, a 6-8 junior, scored 19 points with 11 rebounds, and sophomore forward Barry Smith scored 19 in his first start of the season. Freshmen Ashton Moore and C.J Bray added 11 and 10, respectively, as the Bulldogs improved to 2-2.
The Bulldogs shot 55.4 percent from the field and made 9 of 24 from 3-point range, a relief after they struggled to score in a 73-50 loss to Clemson.
"Felt really good," said Smith, who hit 8 of 15 shots. "This was definitely a confidence boost for some of our younger guys. They got to play a lot and have some success."
That's the idea when you schedule a team like Florida Christian, a school of 325 students from Kissimmee, Fla., and a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association.
The 2-5 Suns are one of two non-Division I teams on the Bulldogs' schedule this year; The Citadel hosts Virginia-Wise on Jan. 2, just before the rigors of the Southern Conference slate set in.
"We like to schedule two games like this every year, one early and one after the Christmas break," said Citadel coach Chuck Driesell, who registered his 100th career victory. "It helps us find out where we're at, get ourselves better and prepare for what is ahead of us.
"For us, this game was perfect timing, because we have so many new faces."
Six freshmen played for the Bulldogs, but none started for the first time this season. Driesell went small with the 6-6 wingman Smith starting for the 6-7 Bray, with 6-4 Bo Holston at the big forward.
"Defense," Driesell said in explaining the switch. "I've told these guys, the best defenders will play, and that's Barry right now. He's quick and he's long and he's a good rebounder."
Montique Lynch scored 15 points for Florida Christian, Joseph Wood 11 and Juwon Braye 10.
--Groselle's streak of five straight double-doubles is the longest by a Citadel player since at least 1974 … The Citadel's 53-point margin of victory was its biggest since a 113-59 win over Atlanta Christian in 2006 … The Bulldogs are at High Point on Saturday.