HOMEWOOD – Bucky McMillan put down the clipboard on Wednesday at a critical moment in a crucial Southern Conference game. After all, a clipboard wasn’t needed for the plan he had for his Samford basketball team that had fallen into a double-digit hole against a UNC Greensboro team that was seemingly throwing in everything they launched toward the basket.

“I told them more than anything else, this is going to be about your heart,” McMillan said. “That was really cool to see. The last 10 minutes of the game, couldn’t have gone much better. We said, if you feel like you can attack on defense go. If you feel like you can attack on offense go. A lot of things we (usually) control on me. This was, y’all just play. I really think our staff does a good job. This game was about our players and our heart.”

What followed was about 10 minutes of a dizzying pace that was as impressive as it was unexpected. That effort was accompanied by ear-splitting support at the Pete Hanna. Put those two things together, and it turned into an 83-71 Samford victory.

A memorable night got even better for the Bulldogs when they found out that Furman dropped a road decision at The Citadel on Wednesday. Samford, which entered the day in a three-way tie with Furman and UNCG for first place in the SoCon, now has sole control of the top spot with three games left to play.

“Great win, team win, for the players and coaches and locker room, but also for the fans and everyone that was here tonight,” McMillan said.

The teams traded control for most of the first half but the Spartans scored the final nine points to take a 29-26 advantage into halftime. UNCG came out quickly after halftime, making 6 of its first 10 3-pointers, to build a lead that stretched to as many as 12 points and stood at 53-43 with 10:31 left.

From that point forward, Samford outscored the Spartans, 40-18. The Bulldogs did it with a fullcourt pressure that wore down a marvelous group of backcourt players. They did it by getting 3-pointers from likely sources like A.J. Staton-McCray, Ques Glover and Jermaine Marshall and an unlikely scored like Achor Achor, who doubled his 3-pointer output with one in the second half.

When it was all done, Samford had 57 second half points against a defense that generally gives up a SoCon best 63 points per game. And the Bulldogs did it down the stretch without senior post player Logan Dye, who is slowed by a knee problem. Dye still managed to play 22 minutes and contribute five points and six rebounds but he spent much of the second half on the bench.

“He was struggling all day,” McMillan said. “We knew he would play, because he’s Logan. But, a lot of guys wouldn’t have played tonight.”

Achor got expanded minutes and he responded with nine points, five rebounds, three steals and a block. Bubba Parham, who kept Samford in striking distance with some timely baskets, had 21 points with just nine shots from the field. He made four 3-pointers, was 7 of 9 from the free throw line and added three steals and two assists.

Glover had two critical 3-pointers in the final 3:30 to finish with 17 points to go with four assists and three rebounds. Marshall had 15 points and three 3-pointers and Staton-McCray had 14 points and seven rebounds.

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