GAME NOTES: Two teams in search of some consistent success battle it out at the Holmes Center, as the Samford Bulldogs take on the Appalachian State Mountaineers in a Southern Conference tilt.
Samford is just 5-5 in its last 10 outings. The Bulldogs outlasted Chattanooga in overtime, 92-85, last Saturday evening.
Appalachian State has lost three of its last four. On Saturday afternoon, the Mountaineers fell to Western Carolina on the road, also in overtime, 84-75.
The Mountaineers own a 6-4 record in the all-time series between these two programs. Last year, the teams split the season series, with each winning at home, including a double-overtime thriller on Feb. 28, 2013 that Samford took in a 70-67 final.
Tim Williams notched a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds, helping the Bulldogs beat Chattanooga in overtime last Saturday. Williams shot 10- of-12 from the field, while Isaiah Williams (20 points), Tyler Hood (14) and Brandon Roberts (13) were the other double-digit scorers. After the Mocs forced overtime with a late bucket, Connor Miller opened the overtime scoring for the Bulldogs with a 3-pointer, and Samford never gave up the lead, as Chattanooga hit just 2-of-6 from the floor in the period. Samford dominated in the paint, where they outrebounded the visitors 47-39 and outscored the Mocs by a staggering 58-26 margin.
Williams leads the Bulldogs in scoring, netting 17.2 ppg to go with a team- best 7.5 rpg. Williams is second with 12.3 ppg, and Raijon Kelly checks in third with 10.7 ppg. Isaiah Williams leads the squad with 3.4 apg, and Williams also tops the roster with 36 steals and 38 blocked shots. As a collective unit, the Bulldogs are scoring an even 71 ppg but giving up a league-worst 76.8 ppg. They do top the SoCon in field goal percentage, knocking down their shots at a 47.5 percent clip.
Tommy Spagnolo led the way with 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Mountaineers in their overtime loss to Western Carolina. Ty Toney and Tab Hamilton rounded out the double-digit scorers with 14 and 13 points, respectively. ASU never led in the second half, but Hamilton made two free throws with one second left to send the game to overtime. In the extra session, the Mountaineers took a four-point lead on a jumper by Spagnolo at the 3:01 mark of the extra session, but were held without a field goal the rest of the way as the Catamounts closed the contest on a 14-1 run.
Hamilton is the team's active leader in scoring with 13.5 ppg on just 37.9 percent shooting from the field. Jay Canty was its top scorer through five games, but he has been sidelined for the majority of the season with a hand injury. Neal is the only other Appalachian State player to average in double digits with 10.5 ppg, to go with a team-best 80 assists. Tevin Baskin (9.9 ppg) and Chris Burgess (8.1 ppg) have also been contributing for the Mountaineers. Michael Obacha leads the way on the glass with 8.9 rpg. As a squad, they are scoring 70.7 ppg and giving up 73.4 ppg. They shoot just 42 percent from the field and 31.2 percent from 3-point range, both ranking last in the SoCon.
The Bulldogs have struggled on the road this season, but with their strong shooting and the poor field goal defense by the Mountaineers, this would be a great time for Samford to pick up an important road win as the conference schedule starts to wind down.
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