Samford’s Valiant Effort Falls Just Short in NCAA Tournament Thriller Against Kansas

NCAA Tournament Samford vs Kansas

In a thrilling NCAA Tournament showdown on Thursday evening at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, the 13th-seeded Samford men’s basketball team staged a remarkable comeback attempt against fourth-seeded Kansas. Despite narrowing a daunting 22-point deficit in the second half, Samford ultimately fell short, succumbing to Kansas 93-89 in a hard-fought battle.

Reflecting on the game, Samford head coach Bucky McMillan expressed pride in his team’s resilience, noting their familiar territory in mounting comebacks. “This was an intense battle,” McMillan remarked. “We anticipated the challenge they posed inside, while we aimed to utilize our speed and three-point shooting. When we closed the gap to single digits, I truly believed we had the momentum to win. It came down to a few key plays.”

This NCAA Tournament appearance marked only the third in Samford’s school history and the first since 2000. Despite the loss, Samford capped off a historic season with a record of 29-6, setting a new benchmark for wins in a single season. Their achievements included securing the program’s first outright Southern Conference regular-season championship and SoCon Tournament title.

Leading the charge for Samford in the narrow defeat was Achor Achor, who delivered an impressive performance with 23 points and eight rebounds. Jaden Campbell contributed 18 points, while Riley Allenspach added 15 points to the tally. Rylan Jones, playing in his hometown, showcased his skills with nine points and tied a career high with nine assists.

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Kansas, meanwhile, showcased their strength with K.J. Adams leading the scoring charge with 20 points. Hunter Dickinson dominated the boards with 19 points and an astounding 20 rebounds. Nicolas Timberlake and Johnny Furphy also made significant contributions with 19 and 16 points respectively, while Dajuan Harris added 13 points to secure the victory for the Jayhawks.

Despite trailing by 22 points in the second half, Samford staged a remarkable rally, narrowing the lead to just one point on multiple occasions, including late in the game at 90-89. However, crucial free throws from Kansas’ Timberlake and Furphy sealed the win for the Jayhawks.

The game showcased the tenacity and skill of both teams, with Samford’s spirited comeback falling just short against Kansas’ determined effort. With this victory, Kansas advances to the second round to face Gonzaga on Saturday, while Samford’s impressive season comes to a close, leaving behind a legacy of achievement and determination.

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