Samford came back from a sizeable second-half deficit for the second time this season against Chattanooga. This time, however, the Bulldogs' rally fell short.

Chattanooga, which is finally playing at full strength, pulled off an 89-86 upset over Southern Conference co-champion Samford in the quarterfinals of the SoCon Tournament in Asheville, North Carolina.

Jake Stephens, Chattanooga's 7-foot center, played in his second game since breaking his hand seven games into SoCon play was predictably productive. He had 21 points, five rebounds, four assists and a steal. But the biggest problem for Samford came from outside the 3-point arc. The Mocs hit 15 of 28 3-pointers, which is 53.6 percent, with Jamal Johnson going 6 of 7 from outside the stripe and five other Chattanooga hitting at least one 3-pointer.

"I know we didn't come out on top, but our guys were unbelievable," said Samford head coach Bucky McMillan. "They shot 54 percent from 3, made 15 3s, and we took a lead there late in the game. Like, that never happens. Most of the time, if you play a team in a tournament game, they make 54 percent of their 3s and make 15 3s, it's a 20-piece, and you get on the bus. You watch our guys in that game, not quit, not give in, fight back like they have all year long. They just happened to make one more play than we did."

Samford trailed by as many as 18 points in the second half. The Bulldogs fought their way back into the game, eventually taking an 80-78 lead following a 3-pointer by Jermaine Marshall and a free throw by Logan Dye. The free throw came with 50 seconds left. Fourteen seconds later, Johnson hit his sixth 3-pointer of the game to give Chattanooga an 81-80 lead. Samford trailed the remainder of the way.

Marshall led Samford with 27 points and eight rebounds. Dye had 22 points with five 3-pointers and six rebounds.

Now, the Bulldogs await to see if they find a postseason spot. Samford will get an automatic berth into the NIT if fellow co-champion Furman wins the SoCon Tournament.

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