Samford went on a 17-3 run over the final eight minutes, including the final 10 points, capped by Logan Padgett's free throw with three seconds left. Citadel led by as many as 16 and was in front for 28:30 of the game.
Robert Allen had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Samford (7-8, 1-0 Southern Conference). Brandon Austin, Samford's second leading scorer heading into the contest at 15 points per game, had only seven points on 3-of-11 shooting.
Kaiden Rice had 17 points for The Citadel (6-7, 0-2). Rudy Fitzgibbons III added 12 points, and Eddie Davis III had 11 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.