Samford takes down Wofford at home, 40-33

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - In its best defensive performance of the 2012-13 campaign, the Samford University basketball team ground out a 40-33 home victory against the Wofford Terriers on Thursday in a key Southern Conference cross-divisional contest held at the Pete Hanna Center.{}"I really loved the way we played tonight on one end of the court," said Samford head coach Bennie Seltzer. "I enjoyed the way our guys played defensively and I thought they really played well in that aspect of the game. Wofford is a very good team and this was a big win for us."{}Samford (9-17, 7-6 SoCon) limited Wofford (10-17, 4-10 SoCon) to a season-low 27.1-percent shooting performance from the field Thursday, and a similarly-dismal 13.3-percent outing from 3-point range. Including the Bulldogs' game at Chattanooga on Monday, Samford's perimeter defense has held its opponents to 10.3 percent (3-of-29) shooting from beyond the arc.{}Despite trailing 11-2 early in the first half, the Bulldogs' defense stepped up throughout the period and Samford took a 17-16 advantage into the locker room.{}Raijon Kelly, the Bulldogs' All-SoCon Freshman Team member from a year ago, paced his squad offensively in the first half and scored all eight of his points in the opening 20 minutes of play. Samford only shot 31.8 percent from the field in the first period, but held Wofford to a 26.1-percent outing.{}The Terriers' Lee Skinner scored a team-high 10 points Thursday and finished the first-half with eight. Wofford's Karl Cochran entered the night averaging 15.3 points per game, but tallied eight points against Samford. Spencer Collins finished 2-of-15 from the field for five points Thursday after coming into the contest scoring 13.1 points per outing.{}"Wofford has two very good players that can really score the basketball," said Seltzer. "Tonight, we held (Karl) Cochran to eight points and (Spencer) Collins to five, and both of those guys came into the game averaging double figures. So, to hold those guys under their averages was a really good job by our team."{}Samford's 40 points scored was its lowest total of the season. Defensively, the Bulldogs also held Wofford to its lowest scoring output of the 2012-13 campaign. Samford's previous low was a 42-point performance at Bowling Green, while the Terriers' was a 37-point outing at UNC-Wilmington on Nov. 24.{}The Bulldogs opened the second half with a momentous 7-0 run to extend their one-point halftime lead to 23-16 at the 16:32 mark in the period. Wofford later trimmed Samford's advantage to 26-24 with 10:57 left in the half before Tim Williams drained a pair of free throws and Clide Geffrard, Jr., nailed a key 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs a seven-point lead with 9:41 remaining.{}"Clide hit a couple of 3-pointers for us that were big, especially the one from the right corner where the pass was low and hit him on his feet," Seltzer said. "He was still able to catch the ball and knock down the shot as the clock was running down and Tim got fouled and made a couple of really big free throws late as well."{}Geffrard, Jr., Samford's explosive true freshman from Pompano Beach, Fla., scored a game-high 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the field and knocked down a trio of 3-point baskets. The Bulldogs' 6-foot-5 forward also pulled down five rebounds and went 4-of-5 from the free-throw line.{}Down the stretch, Wofford wasn't able to cut Samford's lead to anything less than six points as the Bulldogs' Brandon Hayman, Geffrard, Jr., and Tyler Hood all scored crucial buckets in the final minutes of play.{}Hayman, Samford's 6-foot-3 athletic sophomore from Braselton, Ga., came off the bench to tally five points, three steals, two rebounds and a pair of blocked shots Thursday, while Hood added four points in a foul trouble-plagued 19 minutes of action.{}"Brandon made some really nice hustle plays for us at the end of the game," said Seltzer. "Even with those performances, it wasn't just one person or thing that helped us to win this game. There were points when we were only up five or only up six and you never feel confident about those situations. I never felt like we had the game won until there were seven seconds left on the clock."{}Williams, the Bulldogs' true freshman forward from Chicago, Ill., finished with six points, a game-high eight rebounds, two assists and a pair of steals Thursday, but failed to reach double digits in scoring for only the second time this season. Williams and Kelly are both averaging 14.2 points per game in 2012-13, but Samford's freshman has outscored the Bulldog sophomore by one point so far this season, 370 to 369, respectively.{}"I thought that this was a big win for us because we were able to overcome a bad start," Seltzer said. "Our guys followed the game plan and followed the scouting report, and when you do that, you have a good chance to win."{}The Samford University basketball team will next be in action Saturday at 3 p.m. as the Bulldogs travel to Greenville, S.C., for another important cross-divisional contest versus the Furman Paladins. Saturday's game will be held at Furman's Timmons Arena (3,000).