Samford (1-3) vs. Toledo (0-3)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 21, 4:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Alico Arena (4,500) -- Fort Myers, Florida.
Television: None. Home Record: Samford 1-0, Toledo 0-3. Away Record: Samford
0-3, Toledo 0-0. Neutral Record: Samford 0-0, Toledo 0-0. Conference Record:
Samford 0-0, Toledo 0-0. Series Record: Tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The Toledo Rockets hope to find their first win of the season in
the Sunshine State as take on the Samford Bulldogs in the Atlantis on the
Mainland Tournament at Alico Arena.
Samford comes in with an unappealing 1-3 record after losses on the road to
Louisville (80-54) and Memphis (65-54) on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.
The Bulldogs were also defeated in their only other matchup with a Division I
foe when Austin Peay handed them a 75-64 defeat in their season opener.
Samford has struggled on the offensive end early in the season. Even in its
lone win over Martin Methodist of the NAIA, Samford managed to score just 59
points after going 7-of-23 from three-point range and 8-of-16 at the free
throw line. With very few big men on the roster, first-year head coach Bennie
Seltzer has implemented a run-and-gun style of play into the program.
The Rockets' slow 0-3 start is disappointing on the surface after they were
considered the favorites to win the MAC's West Division this season. The
prediction was derived from the 2011-2012 team's impressive 19-17 overall
finish. All five starters are back from that squad, but it has not led to any
check marks in the win column thus far. However, the Rockets have played
decent opposition in tough atmospheres as it had to go on the road to play
Loyola-Illinois (62-50), Minnesota (82-56), and Northern Iowa (84-81 OT) to
start the season. Coach Tod Kowalczyk is in his 10th year with the program. He
enters just one game below .500 with a 159-160 record.
The Bulldogs hope to find more success now that their treacherous road trip
through the top 25 is over and done with. Freshman forward Tim Williams has
been consistently outstanding in the early season for Samford. The Chicago
native opened up the season with back-to-back double-doubles before averaging
18 points and six rebounds per game versus the ranked opposition. Williams
earned his first-ever SoCon Player of the Week award for his efforts.
Sophomore point guard Raiijon Kelly has also scored in double figures in all
four games this season. Kelly is doing a good job distributing with 4.8
assists per game, but he has committed 17 turnovers over his past three games.
Tyler Hood (7.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and Connor Miler (7.0 ppg) are both playing big-
time minutes, but the team needs more out of returning starter Will Cook, who
has scored only six points in four games.
The Rockets were bottled up by Loyola-Illinois and Minnesota in their first
two outings, managing just 53 ppg on 36.1 percent shooting from the floor in
those contests. Toledo broke out of its slump versus Northern Iowa by hitting
44.9 percent of its field goals, including a season-high nine three-pointers.
It came up just short and lost in the extra session despite the improved
shooting and stellar performances by Julius Brown, Dominique Buckley, and Rian
Pearson. Brown managed to score 23 points on 10-of-20 shooting from the floor
and grab four boards versus UNI. The sophomore guard made only 9-of-29 field
goal attempt in his first two outings. Buckley and Pearson combined to add 37
more points versus the Panthers. Pearson is expected to have a big season
after tying for the MAC lead with 16.4 ppg and finishing third in rebounding
(8.3 rpg) as a sophomore last year.
Both these teams have been challenged early on this season. The Rockets seemed
to have broken out of their slump offensively, which could mean trouble for a
Samford squad that has very little focus on the defensive end.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome:
11/21 10:33:46 ET