Team Makes It Interesting During Seventh Straight Winner
With only two
starters back and a healthy mix of freshmen, the Samford men's basketball
team spent the early season getting to know each other. The Bulldogs
faced a difficult pre-conference schedule, and the result entering
January was almost predictable: a 3-7 record.
But Coach Jimmy
Tillette's team found its rhythm at that point and finished third
in the Trans America Athletic Conference regular season race. The
'Dogs went 12-7 from January on, and took TAAC champion Georgia
State down to the wire before losing in the semifinal round of the
conference tournament in Atlanta.
record was its seventh consecutive winning season and the fourth
in a row since Tillette became head coach. It's by far the longest
string of consecutive winners in Bulldog history.
our recent success, nobody is satisfied with just having a winning
season anymore," said Tillette, whose 1999 and 2000 teams went
to the NCAA Tournament.
Even so, the
Bulldogs could point to some superlatives. They finished third nationally
in three-point goals, averaging 9.8 a game. They ranked 20th in
defense among the more than 300 Division I teams, allowing just
62.7 points a game.
And on one
remarkable January afternoon in Seibert Hall, they established the
NCAA season high for three-point goals in a game, hitting 23 in
a 94-47 win over Troy State. That performance was a record for both
Samford and the conference.
a senior from Owensboro, Ky., who has been a big part of recent
success, led Samford in points (17.2 a game) and rebounds (6.2),
earning All-TAAC First Team honors. He finished his four-year career
with 1,604 points, sixth all-time for the Bulldogs.
is history now, and Tillette and his staff are looking to 2001-02.
What can fans expect?
be young," said the coach. "And we'll play Indiana and
Georgia early in the year."
Two other things
are pretty certain. Samford will play tough defense, and there'll
be no shortage of three-pointers when the 'Dogs have the ball.