Wright helps The Citadel take down Army 83-72
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) Trailing by 12 at the half, The Citadel coach Chuck Driesell challenged his players in the locker room.
They responded with a vengeance.
DeVontae Wright scored a career-high 26 points - 18 in the second half - to lead The Citadel to an 83-72 comeback win over Army in the third-place game of the inaugural All-Military Classic Saturday night. The Bulldogs (1-1) shot 51.9 percent from the field in the second half on their way to erasing Army's double-digit lead.
Mike Groselle added 16 and 10 rebounds for The Citadel, which trailed the Black Knights (0-2) by as many as 20 in the first half.
"At halftime, coach challenged us to come out and play tough defensively, and we took that challenge," Wright said. "We told each other we needed to man up, play hard and play as a team. My shot was just on in the second half."
Bo Holston also had 12 points for The Citadel, which out-rebounded Army 36-30.
Wright said the Bulldogs never got mentally discouraged in the game, despite digging themselves an early 20-point hole.
"We're a team and a family, so we're here to lift each other up," Wright said. "We never got down."
Ella Ellis had 18 points to lead Army, which shot just 20 percent in the second half. Freshman guards Maxwell Lenox and Mo Williams each added 12 for the Black Knights.
The Citadel came out hot in the second half, using an 18-6 run to tie the game at 55-55 with 13:11 remaining. The game was tied 57-57 with 12:31 left before the Bulldogs used a 6-0 run to gain a lead they would not relinquish.
The Citadel held Lenox and Williams - who combined for 18 points and five assists in the first half - to just six second-half points.
"We didn't change anything we do, we just tried to do it better," Driesell said of the second half. "We just had to come out and make a decision about what kind of team we were going to be, and this was a good 20 minutes to figure it out. I give my guys all the credit. They responded, came out and just grinded and really showed a lot."
The Black Knights hit just 1 of 13 3-pointers in the second half and was 7-for-21 from beyond the arc during the game.
Army fouled The Citadel repeatedly down the stretch hoping for a chance to get back in the game, but the Bulldogs scored 11 of their final 13 points from the line thanks to clutch free-throw shooting.
Army used penetrating guard play, sharp passing and stingy defense to open a 20-point advantage midway through the first half. The Black Knights shot 60 percent from the field and led the Bulldogs 49-37 at the break.
Updated November 12, 2011