Samford (7-12) at UNC Greensboro (4-13)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 24, 7 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Greensboro Coliseum (7,617) -- Greensboro, North Carolina. Television: None. Home Record: Samford 4-4, UNCG 4-5. Away Record: Samford 3-6, UNCG 0-8. Neutral Record: Samford 0-2, UNCG 0-0. Conference Record: Samford 5-1, UNCG 2-4. Series Record: Samford leads, 6-4.
GAME NOTES: The Samford Bulldogs will try to pad their lead in the Southern Conference North Division standings when they step inside Greensboro Coliseum to take on the UNC Greensboro Spartans.
Samford improved to 5-1 in league play with Saturday's 72-68 victory over Appalachian State. The win was the fourth in a row for the Bulldogs, who begin a three-game road swing tonight. Following this tilt, the Bulldogs will be idle until next Thursday when they visit South Division leader Davidson.
Meanwhile, UNCG is playing the third leg of its season-long five-game homestand. The Spartans have certainly had their struggles throughout the season, although all four of their wins so far have come at home. The Spartans have dropped three of their last four overall, including Sunday's 69-61 setback to Furman.
Samford leads the all-time series, 6-4, but UNCG claimed a 71-69 victory in the most recent meeting last February.
The Bulldogs have stepped things up defensively of late, as they are allowing an average of just 62.5 points during their current win streak. In the two games prior to the streak -- the team's longest in conference play in nearly three years -- the Bulldogs had allowed 87 points in a loss to Wisconsin and 74 in another loss to Chattanooga. But they also got hot on the offensive end against Appalachian State on Saturday, shooting 54.5 percent from the floor while knocking down 7-of-15 3-pointers (.467). Clide Geffrard, Jr. was 4-of-6 from long range and finished with a game-high 20 points. Raijon Kelly tallied 15 points and seven assists, while Brandon Hayman added 14 points off the bench, and Tim Williams scored 13 in the win. On the season, Kelly leads the team with 14.6 points per game, followed by Williams with 14.3 ppg and a team- best 7.2 rpg.
The Spartans could take a cue from Samford's new defensive mindset, as they are allowing opponents to shoot 37.2 percent from long range and score 76.0 ppg. During a five-game skid earlier this season, UNCG gave up at least 80 points in all five games. The Spartans do boast a couple of scorers in guards Trevis Simpson (17.8 ppg) and Derrell Armstrong (16.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg), while reserve Kayel Locke is averaging 10.2 points and 4.7 rebounds. However, after building a 10-point halftime lead against Furman on Sunday, UNCG allowed the Paladins to shoot 58.3 percent from the floor and 5-of-6 from beyond the arc in the second half. Furman put together 11-0 and 19-4 runs in that decisive second stanza, which the Paladins won by a 47-29 margin. Armstrong and Nicholas Paulos each scored 16 points for UNCG, although the Spartans shot just 36.5 percent as a team.
Samford coach Bennie Seltzer has his team playing its best basketball of the season at the moment, but the Bulldogs must be careful to avoid a letdown against the struggling Spartans.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Samford 75, UNC Greensboro 68
01/24 10:33:49 ET