Game #9-015: Virginia Military Institute vs. The Citadel BulldogsNovember 10, 2012 4:00 pm
In the first game of the All Military Classic, I was glad that I was able to see two service academies play that I would probably never see play again in Army and Air Force. The problem was that I was not able to recognize too much from either team since they were both new to me.
That would not be the case in the second match-up of the evening featuring the host team The Citadel against VMI. I had been to The Citadel a handful of times last year and saw them struggle through a 6-24 season. On the flipside, being a fan of the Big South, I knew all about the Keydets of VMI and their up-tempo style throughout the past few years.
Before the game started, there was the matter of entertaining myself for about 30 minutes between the first and second games of the afternoon. While McAlister Field House had not made any new improvements to the facilities, they had added a new Southern-style concession stand to go along with the normal arena fare. There was the option of fried pickles and fried veggies and I'm sure they would fry whatever you would ask them to, this being the South and all. I passed on the high fat options, but after walking around a little bit more I was able to pet The Citadel mascot since I'm a sucker for Bulldogs.
Having a familiarity of both teams, I also knew about the key players each team had. For The Citadel, there was the returning Mike Groselle, who was the do everything man for the Bulldogs last year without much help. For VMI, they had Big South Preseason Player of the Year Stan Okoye. I had seen both play and they are both going to be big parts to their respective teams' upcoming seasons. While neither would have likely matched up against each other much, I was interested how both would start off the year.
The game started out back and forth in the early going and Groselle was making his presence known on the offensive and defensive glass. He was not getting too much help though and the Keydets took advantage. Okoye converted on two three-point plays and a personal eight-point run by junior guard Rodney Glasgow had them up 21-10.
This looked like a familiar scene for most Bulldog games from last year, when Groselle had to do most of the work without much help from his teammates. Things changed for the better for The Citadel when Marshall Harris started to make a living from the line to go with some made shots from freshman Matt Van Scyoc.
With the game much tighter, one of the Keydets, Brian Brown, started to step up. VMI has had several players in years past that have put up some big stats like Reggie Williams, Austin Kenon, and Keith Gabriel. Much of it is contributed to the fast-paced offense, but it looks like Brown may be able to be the next scoring machine after easily burying a bunch of open threes.
During a media timeout, it was again time for the t-shirt toss, and much like the previous game I was just sitting there while many others were waving their arms wildly and in my lap plopped another shirt. After catching a medium in the previous game, I was hoping for a larger size, but no luck as it was a small.