ASHEVILLE, N.C. – No. 7 Samford cruised to a 100-71 win over No. 10 The Citadel in the Ingles Southern Conference Championships presented by General Shale first round Friday. Samford broke it open midway through the first half and never looked back.
Kaiden Rice pulled Citadel within two, 24-22, with a little more than 11 minutes to go in the first. Back-to-back scores from Brandon Austin, a 3-pointer, and Robert Allen pushed the lead to seven. Zane Najdawi scores sandwiched a Deandre Thomas three for a six-point Samford advantage.
Ruben Guerrero put the exclamation point on an 11-0 run over a five-minute span increasing the lead to 43-26. Alex Reed and Hayden Brown scored to get the margin back to 13, but Allen’s slam sent Samford into the break ahead by 15, 45-30.
The lead reached 20 three minutes into the second 20 on Myron Gordon’s three-point play. Najdawi sliced it to 17, 69-52, at 13:01, but that’s as close as they could manage. Sharkey free throws and five points from Stefan Lakic extended it to 76-52. The Citadel clawed back to the 18-21 range, but Samford pulled away with Lakic’s layup with 24 seconds to go providing the final tally.
Samford advances to face No. 2 UNCG in Saturday’s third quarterfinal game. They meet at 6 p.m., on Nexstar and ESPN+.
RecordsNo. 7 Samford (17-15) | No. 10 The Citadel (12-18)
3 Notes to Know- Samford junior point guard Josh Sharkey set the school’s single-season assist record with his second of the night. He now has 232 on the season and set the career record, now at 534, earlier this year.- The Citadel played without leading scorer Lew Stallworth. He averaged 20.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game this year. He was ruled ineligible due to a class issue. Stallworth was a second-team All-SoCon performer.- Samford’s 100 points is the first time a SoCon team topped the century mark in a tourney game since ETSU did in the 1991 championship game with a 101-82 victory over Appalachian State on March 3.