Bulldogs upset Oregon State on the road in McMillan’s biggest win yet
The Samford Men’s Basketball team has started off its second season under head coach Bucky McMillan with some fast and furious wins led by some new faces.
The Bulldogs are currently 3-1 through the first two weeks of play. Their wins came against Maryville College (Nov. 9), Spring Hill (Nov. 11) and Oregon State (Nov. 18).
Prior to the Oregon State game, the Bulldogs were 14 point underdogs to the Beavers. Needless to say, social media was buzzing for the Bulldogs after their upset victory.
Samford’s victory over Oregon State is undoubtedly the biggest win in McMillan’s career. Not only is Oregon State a Power 5 school, they also made an Elite Eight run in the NCAA tournament last season. The game ended in a nail-biting 78-77 Bulldog victory.
Last offseason, McMillan made it a point to have a strong second season of recruiting, specifically for transfer student-athletes. Along with some highly touted freshman, he was able to bring in several transfers that have already been taking the Bulldogs’ game to a new level.
Sophomore Ques Glover, the former Florida Gator, has been the leading spark in the fast-paced Bulldog offensive attack. He currently leads the team in points per game (18.3) and assists (8). The gritty point guard leans on his incredible athleticism to drive into the paint and make tough shots at the rim.
“(McMillan’s system) is a fun way to play once you get the hang of it,” Glover said. “I’m still learning it, but he’s doing a really good job of coaching me. I really love the guy.”
While Glover makes his bread through quick drives to the paint, Loyola-Chicago transfer Cooper Kaifes has the hot hand from three. He is currently tied with freshman standout Wesley Cardet Jr. for the most three pointers on the team (6).
As for the big man division, center Jermaine Marshall, the University of Akron transfer, has been leading the Bulldogs in the rebounding department. Marshall leads the team in total rebounds (22), but averages a notable 12.3 points per game. His presence at the rim will be huge for the Bulldogs moving forward.
Mcmillan expressed his high praises for Marshall after his 16 point, 10 rebound performance against Spring Hill.
“Jermaine is just a double-double machine because he plays so hard,” McMillan told Samford Sports. “He’s a good shooter, he’s a good dribbler, but his talent is that he’s elite at playing hard.”
As for the freshman class, four-star recruit Wesley Cardet Jr. is living up to his hype. The 6-foot- 6-inch combo guard currently averages 13.3 points per game, which is second on the team behind Glover. He is also tied with Kaifes for the most three pointers, which poses a huge threat for defenders who have to play him tight while also preventing his driving abilities.
Even though these new faces have seen early individual success, the Bulldogs still have plenty more to accomplish before a Southern Conference championship returns to the Pete.
In the 2020-2021 season, McMillan started off his tenure hot, winning three of his first four games followed by a tight four-point loss to the mighty Georgia Bulldogs. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, it was mostly downhill from there. They finished 6-13, 2-9 and dead last in the conference.
To McMillan’s credit, the Bulldogs had to battle a slew of devastating injuries and COVID-19-induced absences. But now, the Bulldogs are fully loaded and healthy with experienced playmakers at every position.
This season will be huge for the Bucky Ball era moving forward. If the transfers mentioned continue to have success and finish the pre-conference schedule strong, a 2021-2022 conference title could be well in reach.
Samford’s next game will be against North Carolina A&T State on Friday, Nov. 26. This will be the first of the Bulldogs’ two games in the Emerald Coast Classic in Destin, Florida. These games will be essential for gaining momentum for the rest of the pre-conference schedule.