Men’s basketball earns thrilling victory

Freshman guard Evan Taylor drives to the hoop against Jacksonville.   Tate Holcombe, PhotographerBy Sam Chandler

Sports Writer

The men’s basketball team (3-5) defended their home court on Monday night at the Pete Hanna center, beating Jacksonville University 76-70 in an overtime victory.

After trailing for most of the game, the Samford men rallied in the final minutes of the second half, erasing a six-point deficit over the final five minutes. Gritty defense and a three-point play by junior sports administration major Darius Jones-Gibson with less than a minute remaining in regulation left the teams tied at 62-62, forcing the game into overtime.

The Bulldogs’ style of play wore down the visiting side in overtime, as the Samford men outscored their opponents 14-8 in the added five minutes.

Junior sports administration major Darius Jones-Gibson prepares to shoot his pivotal free throw with 44 seconds remaining in the second half. On the night, Jones-Gibson led the Bulldogs with 18 points and went 6-for-8 from the charity stripe.


“It was a great team win,” Jones-Gibson said. “We all stuck together, even at crunch time when we were down.”

Monday night’s victory over Jacksonville served as a prime example of head coach Scott Padgett’s vision for the men’s basketball program.

By implementing an up-tempo, full-court press approach from opening tipoff to final buzzer, the Bulldogs were able to break down their opponent by game’s end.

“I couldn’t be prouder with how the guys played from the four-minute mark to the end of the game, how they executed on both ends,” Padgett said. “We got a stop when we needed to, and we got a bucket when we needed to.”

The effect of Padgett’s play-fast mentality can be seen in the steady decline in the opposing team’s shooting percentage.

Compared to their first half shooting percentage of 50 percent, the Dolphins sunk just 17 percent of their shots in the crucial overtime period.

Samford, on the other hand, maintained their offensive efficiency throughout, nailing shots both in the paint and beyond the arc in the game’s waning minutes.

With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 2-0 at home this season. They’ll look to extend that record when they welcome VMI to the Pete Hanna Center on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the team’s SoCon opener.

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