FACTS & STATS: Site: John M. Belk Arena (5,223) -- Davidson, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: Samford 4-4, Davidson 6-1. Away Record: Samford 3-7, Davidson 5-4. Neutral Record: Samford 0-2, Davidson 2-2. Conference Record: Samford 5-2, Davidson 8-1. Series Record: Davidson leads, 7-1.
GAME NOTES: The Samford Bulldogs continue their three-game road swing on Thursday as they tangle with the Davidson Wildcats in a Southern Conference bout at John M. Belk Arena.
Davidson holds a 7-1 all-time series lead versus the Bulldogs, including a perfect 4-0 mark at Belk Arena. All eight encounters have come during Bob McKillop's tenure as the Wildcats' head coach.
Bennie Seltzer's inaugural campaign at the helm of Samford's program began very slowly, as the team sat at a 3-12 record after the first 15 games of the season. The Bulldogs then reeled off four-straight victories before coming up short last Thursday in their hard-fought, 66-64, setback to UNC Greensboro. Both sides attempted 55 field goals in the contest, with Samford's 22 makes edging the Spartans by one. However, UNCG outscored Samford, 20-13, at the charity stripe as it rode a 30-point performance by Trevis Simpson to the win. Tim Williams paced Samford with 19 points.
On the season, Williams now barely leads the Bulldogs in scoring (14.6 ppg) and rebounding (7.3 rpg). Raijon Kelly is a close second at 14.5 points per game, followed by Clide Geffrard, Jr.'s contribution of 10.3 ppg. Kelley is also handing out 4.1 assists per tilt for Samford, which is just ninth in the SoCon in scoring offense at 61.2 ppg. The Bulldogs have produced just over four points more per tilt in conference play, where they are limiting their foes to only 62.6 ppg.
McKillop's Wildcats kept the ball rolling over the weekend as they completed a 79-56 rout of Appalachian State to notch their fourth win in a row. Jake Cohen tallied 17 points and De'Mon Brooks posted a double-double of 16 points and 10 boards to charge the victory. Davidson leads the nation in free-throw percentage (0.79), as guard Nik Cochran is the top individual performer from the charity stripe among Division I players with a 69-of-73 clip. Brooks leads the Wildcats in scoring at 13.7 points per game, while Cohen follows closely at 13.4 ppg.
Brooks and Cohen shared last season's SoCon Player of the Year Award after guiding the school to the conference championship and NCAA Tournament. Davidson has been a force in SoCon action, outscoring its opponents by 14.3 points per game, and averaging almost nine 3-pointers per contest. The Wildcats have been one of the most feared schools in the league for some time now, as they are 100-21 in their last 121 regular-season conference tilts. The most recent loss was a bit of a shocker, as they were defeated by Georgia Southern (9-12, 3-5), 70-57, on Jan. 14 prior to the current winning streak.
Although Davidson showed its mortality versus GSU a few weeks ago, it has regained its composure and performed up to its potential since that forgettable showing. The Brooks/Cohen tandem gives the Wildcats an edge as their combined production is going to be difficult for Samford to match.