The Pete Hanna Center has been marketed by Samford men’s basketball as one of the toughest environments in the SoCon and all of college basketball. So far this season, the stadium has lived up to the hype. After an 0-2 start, the Bulldogs have won five straight games at home and have seemingly found their stride.
The streak began with a 96-52 win over Mississippi College to open the nine-game homestand. Eighteen players for Samford saw the court, and 15 of them scored. According to Samford Men’s Basketball Head Coach Bucky McMillan, these games have allowed more players to get court time.
“It’s always good when you get to play a lot of guys,” McMillan said. “The things we wanted to work on, we got better at. A lot of these guys work really hard in practice and don’t always get the minutes.”
Achor Achor led the Bulldogs with 17 points, shooting 8-13 from the floor. Samford had 18 steals and 21 assists, distributing well on the offensive end and wreaking havoc on the defensive end.
The next matchup against South Carolina State was closer, but still a win for Samford. Achor Achor once again had 17 points, but in this game had a career-high 14 rebounds and five blocked shots in the 89-72 win. Numerous trips to the free throw line also helped, as the Bulldogs went 32-41 from the charity stripe. In a return to form, Samford star Jermaine Marshall had 20 points.
Another blowout followed two impressive victories, as Samford foe Alabama State was no match for the Bulldogs in a 99-67 whomping. Samford shot 58.1 percent from the floor in the victory, and Jaden Campbell led with 17 points.
The next game, against Merrimack, was the toughest test in the five-game stretch. The Warriors were coming off a season in which they won the Northeast Conference regular season and tournament titles, but due to NCAA rules preventing reclassifying teams from participating in the NCAA Tournament for four years, Merrimack missed out on March Madness. Their talent and grit showed on the court, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Samford in a 79-71 Bulldog victory.
“They remind me of a lot of the teams in our league; they are solid, well coached, and all of their guys can shoot it,” McMillan said.
Jaden Campbell continued his star turn with 19 points and seven rebounds while promising wing A.J. Staton-McCray had 18 points.
In the final game of the five-game stretch, Achor Achor exploded for 26 points in a 101-83 win over North Carolina A&T. The point total was a career high for Achor, who is stepping into the starting center role that Logan Dye defined in his tenure in Homewood. Samford went on a decisive 21-0 run in the first half to put away the visiting Aggies.
Samford will look to continue their home dominance with four more home games, as Louisiana, LaGrange, Alabama A&M
, and Belmont will all make their way to the Pete Hanna Center.