Bulldogs Ready For Showdown With North Carolina A&T At Emerald Coast Classic

Emerald Coast ClassicGAME NOTES: North Carolina A&T vs. Samford (11.26.21)
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Samford looks to carry momentum from its 78-77 victory at Oregon State, a program that finished in the NCAA Elite Eight a year ago, into the semifinal round of the Emerald Coast Classic on Friday, Nov. 26, as the Bulldogs (3-1) face the Aggies (1-3) of North Carolina A&T. Tipoff is set for 1:30 p.m. Central at The Arena in Niceville, Fla., on the campus of Northwest Florida State.

The Bulldogs and Aggies are meeting for the first time in series history on the hardwood.

The Samford-North Carolina A&T winner will face the winner of Saint Francis (0-3) versus McNeese State (2-3) match-up on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 12:30 p.m. while the losers will play at 10 a.m.  

The Emerald Coast Classic returns for its seventh season, featuring Penn State, Louisiana State, Saint Francis, Oregon State, McNeese State, Wake Forest, North Carolina A&T, and Samford. First round games were played on campuses across the country while the semifinal and final round will be played at The Arena in Niceville, Fla., at Northwest Florida State.

Samford’s potential Saturday opponents also have a short track record against the Bulldogs. Saint Francis and Samford have never met in basketball while the Bulldogs own a 2-0 edge against McNeese State.

The Aggies, who average 60.2 points a game, are led in scoring by Tyler Maye (6-1, 180, Jr.) at 11.2 points per game while Marcus Watson adds 11.0 points and 6.2 boards.

Samford placed four Bulldogs (3-1) in double figures en route to a 78-77 victory over Oregon State (1-3) on Thursday, Nov. 18 at Gill Coliseum. Ques Glover led the Bulldogs with 16 points while Jaden Campbell (14), Jermaine Marshall (14), and Cooper Kaifes (11) also turned in double digits. OSU’s Warith Alatishe led all scorers with 20 points. The Bulldogs led for 38:08, trailing for a mere 22 seconds in the signature win.

The Bulldogs come into Friday’s clash with North Carolina A&T averaging 79.5 points per game. Samford has topped 85 points in two of its four games, including a season-high 99 versus Maryville.

The pace of Play is a key metric for the Bulldogs, as Samford averages 81.0 possessions per game. In 2020-21, Samford led the nation at 91.0 per game.

Samford is third in the SoCon in steals (37) and turnovers forced (72) heading into the final two rounds of the Emerald Coast Classic.  The Bulldogs forced 12 turnovers leading to 14 points in last week’s 78-77 victory at Oregon State in Corvallis.

Ques Glover (6-0, 180, So.) continued his hot start for the Bulldogs on Thursday with 16 points and a career-best nine assists at Oregon State. He has scored in double digits in every game this season and currently ranks No. 5 in the SoCon in scoring at 17.8 points per game. His 4.3 assists per game are also sixth-best in the league. The sophomore from Knoxville, Tenn., appeared in 51 games for the Gators, averaging 3.6 points per game. Glover scored a career-high 10 versus No. 6 Tennessee, during his two seasons in Gainesville with the Gators. Prior to UF, the lightning-quick guard starred at Knoxville, Tenn., powerhouse Bearden High School, where he was named the Knoxville News Sentinel’s Player of the Year in 2018, averaging 21 points per game while leading BHS to its first TSSAA Class AAA state championship.

Jermaine Marshall (6-6, 225, So.) has been a force on the wing for the Bulldogs, averaging 12.8 points and a team-high 6.5 rebounds per game. His 6.5 rebounds per game are currently No. 10 in the SoCon while his 12.8 points sit No. 16. He finished with 14 points and five boards in the win over the Beavers. The former Hueytown High School star has also been outstanding from the field, shooting 53.8 percent, which is fifth-best in the SoCon.

Wesley Cardet, Jr. (6-6, 205, Fr.), one of the nation’s most sought-after recruits, continues to develop his game in advance of Southern Conference play. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native is averaging 11.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. A top 20 scorer in the SoCon so far this year, Cardet was the No. 60 ranked player in the nation and No. 13 at his position by Rivals at West Oaks Academy in Orlando, Fla., for coach Kenny Gillion. The four-star combo guard, who averaged 18.4 points and 9.5 rebounds per game during his time at West Oaks, is one of the highest-rated student-athletes to ever sign with Samford.  

Freshman guard Jaron Rillie (6-3, 175, Fr.) stepped up with eight huge second half points in Samford’s 78-77 win at Oregon State. He has been a thorn in the side of the opposition this season, ranking third in the SoCon in steals per game (2.0). The Sydney, Australia native is also averaging 7.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game.  

Cooper Kaifes (6-4, 195, Soph.) has been money from 3-point range for the Bulldogs, making 2.3 per game. The Loyola-Chicago transfer is averaging 8.3 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. He scored a career-high 17 versus Maryville in the season-opener and chipped in 11, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 45 seconds left, at Oregon State.
Sophomore guard Jaden Campbell (6-5, 195, Soph.) played a major role in the Bulldogs win at OSU, scoring a career-high 14 points and clearing three rebounds. He is currently averaging 9.5 points and 3.3 rebounds per game for Samford.

Senior center Jacob Tryon (6-11, 220, Sr.) has blocked eight shots through the first four games, ranking third in the league in blocks per game (2.0). The Temecula, Calif., native, is averaging 5.8 points and a career-best 6.5 boards per game after turning in eight points and six rebounds at Oregon State.

The Bulldogs will appear twice at home in the SoCon’s NextStar Broadcasting Game of the Week, as Samford welcomes Western Carolina to the Pete Hanna Center on Jan. 8, 2022, followed by East Tennessee State on Jan. 15, 2022.  

The Bulldogs have played the first four games of the season without two key returners from last year’s squad in A.J. Staton-McCray (6-5, 190, Fr.) and Logan Dye (6-9, 240, Jr.). The duo is out indefinitely due to injury. Staton-McCray, a Charlotte, N.C., native, averaged 10.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game en route to being named to the All-SoCon Freshman Team. As a junior, Dye, a Haleyville, Ala., native, played in all 19 games, averaging 9.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.

The Samford-North Carolina A&T winner will face the winner of Saint Francis (0-3) versus McNeese State (2-3) match-up on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 12:30 p.m. while the losers will play at 10 a.m.  

For the latest news and information on Samford Men’s Basketball, visit the official website for Samford Athletics at SamfordSports.com. Fans can also follow the Bulldogs on social media at /SamfordSports (Facebook), @SamfordMBB (Twitter), and @SamfordMBB (Instagram).

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