Souvana Saya– Sports Writer |
As the men’s basketball team rolled toward a 59-40 win over Martin Methodist at the Pete Hanna Center Monday night, Raijon Kelly and Tim Williams provided a glimpse of why many are excited about the Bennie Seltzer era.
Williams, a freshman engineering physics major, tallied 13 points and Kelly, an undeclared freshman, chipped in 12 as the Bulldogs won their home opener. This was also the first career victory for Seltzer, who jumped at the opportunity to return to his native Birmingham and become Samford’s head coach this year.
“Those guys played hard,” Seltzer said. “I was really pleased with our effort, especially in the first half. I’d rather have an ugly win than a pretty loss.”
Paced by a red-hot Kelly, the Bulldogs jumped out to a 35-13 halftime lead. The freshman point guard was 4-for-6 from the field during the first half.
“It was a very different atmosphere this year compared to last year,” Kelly said. “This year, we had more support from our peers and fans.”
When the Bulldogs hit the court again for the second half of the game, Williams showed the fans why Seltzer is so excited about his future. The 6-foot-8 freshman from Chicago collected 10 rebounds. He has recorded a double-double in both of the first two games of his career.
“I had a lot of jitters because of it being the home opener and being in front of the home crowd,” Williams said. “But the older guys on the team helped me out a lot and I felt more relaxed after the game started.”
The Bulldogs will be challenged this week as they visit second-ranked Louisville on Thursday at 6 p.m. and Conference USA favorite Memphis on Saturday at 7 p.m.