By Sam Chandler, Sports Editor
The men’s basketball team (12-15, 5-9 SoCon) saw its five-game win streak come to an end on Thursday night after a jump shot from The Citadel’s Ashton Moore rattled through the hoop as time expired.
With just over three seconds remaining in regulation, Moore collected the inbound pass on his own side of the court before weaving through the Bulldog defense and launching a mid-range jumper from the right wing. The shot bounced around the rim before falling through the basket as the buzzer sounded, sealing The Citadel’s 66-65 victory.
“They deserved to beat us on the last play,” head coach Scott Padgett said. “That was the basketball gods saying you don’t deserve to win.”
Although The Citadel entered Thursday’s matchup having lost six -consecutive games, the guests did not play like a team tied for last place in the SoCon standings.
The visiting Bulldogs came out firing, shooting 65.2 percent from the floor and 85.7 percent from beyond the arc in the first half.
Samford, on the other hand, struggled mightily from long range. The home Bulldogs went 4-for-15 from behind the three-point line through the first 20 minutes, launching an uncharacteristic amount of low-percentage shots. According to Padgett, the team’s 23 attempts from beyond the arc were seven more than the team average during their five-game win streak.
“We’re not aggressive going to the rim,” Padgett said.
After lacking consistency on both sides of the ball in the first half, Samford elevated its game following the intermission. Samford’s full-court defense applied extra pressure on opposing ball handlers, forcing turnovers and limiting shot selection.
“When we decided to turn it on, we played a pretty good second half defensively,” Padgett said. “The thing is, you can’t decide to come out and turn it on.”
With less than six seconds left in regulation and the score knotted at 64, senior center Michael Bradley drew a foul that sent him to the free-throw line for the front end of a one-and-one. Bradley knocked down his first attempt, but could not convert the second. The Citadel’s buzzer-beater ensued.
“The team that deserved to win, won,” Padgett said. “It’s very disappointing because I thought we had matured beyond that point, and now we take this step back. We’ve got to regroup, and we’ve got to go back to being the team that plays 40 minutes.”
Junior guard Darius Jones-Gibson led the Bulldogs with 18 points. Freshman guard Christen Cunningham contributed 10 points and 5 assists.
The team will return to action on Saturday when they play at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. Tipoff is scheduled for 5 p.m.