GREENSBORO, NC - Four Bulldogs scored in double figures, led by Bryan Friday's 20 points, as Samford won its fourth straight with a 76-61 win over UNC Greensboro in Southern Conference men's basketball Saturday afternoon at Fleming Gym.
The Bulldogs (10-8, 5-4 SoCon) got red hot to break open a tight
game. Samford hit 16 of 25 from the floor in one stretch to take a
17-17 tie to a 20-point advantage midway through the second half,
63-43. The Bulldogs went 10-for-16 from three-point range in that
21-minute stretch. For the second half, Samford shot 65.2 percent
from the field.
Samford also got 19 points from Josh Bedwell, 13 points from Josh Davis and 11 points by Andy King in the winning effort. King was a perfect 3-for-3 from three-point range.
Junior Ben Stywall had 19 points and a season-high 14 rebounds to lead UNCG, his league-leading seventh double-double this season. The Charlotte, NC native moved up to seventh place on the school's career rebounding list, now with 541 in his career. He had 10 of his 14 rebounds in the first half to pass Jonathan Clifton and Brian Brunson on UNCG's all-time list.
Freshman Damian Eargle added 13 points for the Spartans (3-14, 2-6). Mikko Koivisto, coming back from the flu, added 10 points.
"They executed very well," said UNCG coach Mike Dement. "They are a very tough team to defend with three days to prepare, let alone one. We were playing man and their 5-man King is stepping out to the top of the key and knocking down three's, along with them getting the backdoor baskets. So we tried to go with some zone. It just seemed like whatever we put out there, they had success against.
"We did some good things on the offensive end. But when they are playing like that in that system, one turnover, one missed opportunity can become a four-point swing. We did a nice job on the offensive glass today and only had 10 turnovers, but they took advantage of each of those."
Samford's three-point shooting helped them forge a lead in a back and forth first half. An 11-2 run, which included treys by King, Josh Davis and Bedwell, broke a 17-17 tie and gave the Bulldogs a 28-19 lead with three minutes remaining in the opening half. UNCG went a span of 6:31 with just one field goal. Prior to that, neither team had led by more than three.
The Bulldogs maintained their advantage into the intermission, 33-27, with Davis and Bedwell leading the way with eight first-half points. A quick 7-1 run to open the second half, though, stretched the lead to 12 and forced an early UNCG timeout. In fact, Samford knocked down 4-of-6 from behind the arc to begin the second half to extend that lead to 53-36 with just under 13 minutes to play.
The Spartans made things interesting late, starting to put the Bulldogs on the foul line with three minutes left. A few missed free throws later and UNCG had the margin cut to 12 following a Stywall putback with 2:02 to play, 70-58. But that is as close as UNCG would come as UNCG managed just one field goal the rest of the way and Samford connected on 6-of-8 from the line in the final two minutes.
The Spartans finish their stretch of three games in five days and begin a three-game road swing when they visit Furman on Monday night for a 7 pm tip.
SAMFORD 76, UNCG 61
SAMFORD (10-8, 5-4)
Bryan Friday 7-13 4-4 20; Josh Bedwell 7-12 1-3 19; Josh Davis 4-10 2-2 13; Andy King 4-4 0-1 11; Trey Montgomery 3-5 1-4 8; Jim Griffin 2-2 0-0 4; Curtis West 0-2 1-2 1; Jeffrey Merritt 0-0 0-0 0; Gaby Bermudez 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-48 9-16 76.
UNCG (3-14, 2-6)
Ben Stywall 8-13 3-3 19; Damian Eargle 4-11 5-8 13; Mikko Koivisto 3-11 2-2 10; Deangelo Jackson 4-6 0-0 8; Pete Brown 2-3 0-0 4; Daniel Oliver 1-5 2-2 4; Landon Clement 1-3 0-0 2; Sean Spooner 0-0 1-2 1; Mike Hardiman 0-0 0-0 0; Kendall Toney 0-4 0-0 0; Montel Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-56 13-17 61.
Halftime: Samford 33-27. 3-point goals--Samford 13-26 (Josh Bedwell 4-8; Andy King 3-3; Josh Davis 3-9; Bryan Friday 2-3; Trey Montgomery 1-2; Curtis West 0-1), UNCG 2-14 (Mikko Koivisto 2-6; Daniel Oliver 0-3; Landon Clement 0-1; Kendall Toney 0-4). Fouled out--Samford-None, UNCG-None. Rebounds--Samford 26 (Bryan Friday 7), UNCG 34 (Ben Stywall 14). Assists--Samford 20 (Jim Griffin 7), UNCG 7 (Damian Eargle 2; Ben Stywall 2). Total fouls--Samford 16, UNCG 23. Technical fouls--Samford-None, UNCG-None. A-784
FREE THROWS: Saturday's game was UNCG's last at Fleming Gym until February 9 when it faces Wofford. The Spartans go on the road for three straight and then play Davidson on February 5 at the Greensboro Coliseum before another road game at Georgia Southern on February 7... The meeting between UNCG and Samford was the first since January 18, 1993. Samford won a home-and-home series with UNCG in the Spartans' first two seasons of Division I basketball (1991-92 and 1992-93)... The game was the 1000th in Samford's Division I history. The Bulldogs, a first-year program in the SoCon after coming over from the Ohio Valley Conference this summer, moved into Division I prior to the 1972-73 season... A moment of silence was observed prior to tip off for NC State women's basketball coach and UNCG Distingished Alumna Award recipient Kay Yow, who lost her battle with cancer earlier in the day... Koivisto moved into a tie for 31st place on the school's career scoring list (781 points). He is now tied with Skeet Woolard (1992-96).
- UNCG -