Saturday, December 10, 2016

ESPN3: Samford 'Dogs Ready To Face Miles College Saturday At 7 pm ET

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-- The Samford University basketball team will conclude play in its brief two-game homestand Saturday at 6 p.m. (CST) as the Bulldogs welcome the Miles College Golden Bears to the Pete Hanna Center for a non-conference, cross-town rivalry game.
Samford (5-3) enters the matchup with a full head of steam after earning back-to-back victories against Saint Louis, 68-64, and Jacksonville State, 81-77, last week. The Bulldogs own a 2-1 record at home this season and are averaging 92.3 points per game when playing at the Pete Hanna Center.

Samford used career-high scoring performances from both junior point guard Christen Cunningham and junior forward Alex Thompson on Sunday to snap the Jacksonville State Gamecocks' four-game winning streak in an in-state duel held at the Pete Hanna
Center, 81-77.
With the win, Samford notched its seventh straight victory over Jacksonville State and remained undefeated in the series dating back to Dec. 8, 2005.
Cunningham scored a career-high 29 points on 8-of-14 shooting from the field. Even more impressively, Samford's talented floor general knocked down all 13 of his attempts from the free-throw line. Cunningham is shooting 90 percent (27-of-30) from the charity stripe this season. He also added five steals, four assists and two rebounds.
As a team, the Bulldogs shot 53.8 percent from the floor, 42.9 percent from long range and 82.6 percent (19-of-23) from the free-throw line.
Thompson, Samford's 6-foot-8 stretch forward transfer from Auburn, tallied a career-high 26 points. He opened the game by draining three straight 3-pointers and ended up 5-of-8 from long range. Thompson finished 9-of-14 from the field and added a rebounds and an assist.

Miles College's (2-4) E. Reginald Smalls dropped a career-high 22 points Tuesday, but the Golden Bears' interior defense and shooting could not keep pace with a more aggressive North Alabama squad in an 86-74 defeat held at Flowers Hall.
The Lions scored 40 points in the paint, shot 50 percent from the floor in the second half and held a 47-36 advantage on the glass over the Golden Bears, who shot just 37 percent from the field.
Miles held an early lead and was tied at 29 with just more than three minutes left in the first half, but North Alabama would score the next eight points to take the lead for good. Smalls would score the last seven points of the half for the Golden Bears, the last of them coming on one of his four 3-pointers, to cut the deficit to 41-36 at the half.
Miles, though, would not get any closer the rest of the night. The team was unable to get any traction offensively while North Alabama was able to assert its will, going to the bucket for a lot of easy points and holding a double-digit advantage for most of the second half.
Dimario Jackson scored a game-high 24 points while Sharwyn McGee (nine points, game-high 13 rebounds) also contributed for the Lions. Carl Garcia (11 points, six rebounds) and Aron Stewart (10 points, nine rebounds) scored in double figures for Miles College.
The Bulldogs will be playing Miles College on the hardwood for only the second time in school history Saturday. After facing each other a number of times in preseason exhibition play over the years, Samford hosted the Golden Bears in the regular season for the first time in history last season Dec. 29, 2015. In the matchup, the Bulldogs earned a 104-76 triumph held at the Pete Hanna Center.
At the time, Samford's 104-point scoring output proved to be the program's highest total since Jan. 2, 1999, when the Bulldogs posted a 105-75 victory at Troy.
Since the beginning of last season, Samford has registered a 9-2 record when scoring at least 80 points. On Nov. 14, the Bulldogs opened the 2016-17 season with a dominant 83-65 road victory at San Diego and turned in a 46.9-percent shooting performance from the field, including a welcome 10-of-25 (40 percent) outing from 3-point range.
On Sunday, Samford jumped out to an early lead against Jacksonville State and held on for a key 81-77 victory against the Gamecocks.

Samford's Triston Chambers turned in a career performance against Nicholls State on Nov. 27. The Bulldogs' true freshman sharpshooter from Cold Springs scored a personal-best 24 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. All six of his field goals came from 3-point range as he finished 6-of-8 from beyond the arc. Chambers also handed out five assists.
Heading into Saturday's home matchup against Miles College, the Bulldogs boast four players shooting at least 40 percent from 3-point range this season, including junior guard Demetrius Denzel-Dyson, who is shooting a sizzling 51.2 percent from beyond the arc this season.
Denzel-Dyson is ranked No. 22 in the nation in 3-point field-goal percentage at 51.2, while Samford is ranked No. 56 in the country in the category at 38.8 percent.
Along with Denzel-Dyson's remarkable 3-point shooting percentage, the Bulldogs' Thompson is shooting 44.8 percent, while Chambers owns a 40.0 mark. Additionally, Samford's Wyatt Walker is shooting 50 percent from long range at a 1-for-2 clip this season.
The Bulldogs' Walker heads into Saturday's game ranked first in the nation with seven double-doubles. He is also ranked No. 4 in the county in rebounds per game (12.0) and No. 6 in total rebounds (96). Additionally, Samford's Walker is ranked eighth in the nation in defensive rebounds per game (8.4) and 22nd in the country in offensive rebounds per game (4.1).
Following Saturday's intra-city showdown against Miles College, the Samford University basketball team will next be in action Friday at 7:05 p.m. (CST) as the Bulldogs begin a huge two-game road trip against the South Alabama Jaguars in a highly-anticipated, in-state showdown to be held at the Mitchell Center in Mobile, Ala.
The Bulldogs will then travel to Tallahassee, Fla., to square off against the Florida State
Seminoles at 1 p.m., on Dec. 19, from the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center.
For quick score updates, breaking news and links to all of your favorite articles featuring the Bulldogs, please follow @SamfordHoopsFOE and @Samford_Sports on Twitter.


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