(Note: My late father, Lou, “71hoya” graduated from Samford’s law school in ‘74. He passed on Wednesday night and my family appreciates your thoughts immensely)
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Samford comes in with a 6-7 record after a 105-87 loss to Alabama on Wednesday. The Bulldogs are averaging 78.5 ppg, while allowing opponents to score 75.8 ppg. Josh Sharkey leads the team with 16.9 ppg and leads the country with 9.7 apg. Brandon Austin (14.3 ppg), Robert Allen (13.5 ppg) and Jalen Dupree (13.2 ppg) are all also in double figures. Dupree and Allen lead Samford on the boards with 6.7 and 6.3 rpg, respectively.
ABOUT THE MATCHUP Saturday will be just the second all-time meeting between the Hoyas and Bulldogs. The first and only previous matchup between the two teams came on Jan. 6, 1979
Petty came out firing in the second half, and the Tide built a 25 point lead before Samford woke up, heated up, and made a game of it. The Bulldogs went on 24-7 run highlighted by hitting virtually every shot they threw up over a six to seven minute period. The made shots allowed SU to get in their press, and the Tide did not handle it well. Turnover after turnover led to easy baskets and suddenly only a six point Tide lead. The Tide was reeling with a combination of foul trouble, nagging injuries, and sloppy play. However, the frantic play eventually lead to the Bulldogs tiring, and the shots quit falling. Bama was able to keep a 10 point margin most of the rest of the way, mainly by hitting free throws
“This was a good win. Samford is a quality team. Shooting got us off to a good start. Give credit to them, they fought back from being down 25 at one point. I thought they really fought back and made it an interesting game. We didn’t handle their pressure very well. I thought our defense kind of slacked off. That’s a little bit of human nature when the offense came as easy as it did in the first half. “Guys have a tendency to not play as hard as they need to and not be as focused on defense. We addressed that at the half, but I didn’t think we did a very good job coming out in the second half. Once we kind of settled in there with the press and got our defense set and got some stops, we were able to open it back up.