The Samford men’s basketball season has come to an unfortunate close. With the NCAA Tournament still unfolding, the Bulldogs are looking on once again from Birmingham, as a March Madness appearance will have to wait at least another year.
After winning a share of the SoCon title, Samford went to Asheville to face off against UTC in the SoCon Tournament. Despite a fierce comeback from Samford, paced by Jermaine Marshall, the Bulldogs ultimately fell short 85-82, as Jamal Johnson and Jake Stephens were too much for a team hampered by the loss of Ques Glover.
UTC played a strong game going 15-28 on 3-pointers, with Johnson scoring 25 points, including a dagger three that put the Mocs ahead in the final minute. Jermaine Marshall and Logan Dye combined for 49 points, but it wasn’t enough to get the team over the hump.
Despite the end, the Bulldogs had a historic season. Overall, the team ended with a record of 21-11 and a conference record of 15-3. The 21-11 mark matched the output of last year’s team, but the conference record significantly improved from the 21-22 team, who finished 10-8 in SoCon play.
The stats back up Samford’s regular season dominance. The team outscored opponents 2519-2290 with an average of 78.7 points per game. Logan Dye ended the season as the top scorer with 426 points total, and Jermaine Marshall came in second with 411 points.
The home factor of the Pete Hanna Center was also a massive part of Samford’s success. The arena was consistently packed every home game, culminating with a sellout crowd against Furman that concluded the regular season. The renewed fan interest caught the attention of various news organizations, including AL.com and even Barstool Sports.
Coach Bucky McMillan, who has won back-to-back SoCon Coach of the Year awards, feels pride towards his team after a successful campaign. However, McMillan knows more work must be done.
“It takes champions to become champions,” McMillan said. “It takes a team effort, with everyone getting behind it all; that’s what makes it fun.”
Despite losing key seniors (Logan Dye and Bubba Parham) and Ques Glover’s departure to the transfer portal, the championship expectation remains for Samford basketball. Jermaine Marshall and A.J. Staton-McCray are expected to return. Furthermore, Samford has signed three freshmen and will look to build their roster through the transfer portal. With Bucky McMillan still at the helm, Samford fans are already looking forward to the 2023-24 campaign.