That was disappointing on so many levels.
Losing to Samford is not in and of itself disappointing. But the Mocs were up by double digits several times in the first half, but simply did not put the Bulldogs away when they had the chance. Then, after falling behind by seven with under two minutes left, the Mocs fought back and got to overtime. They were still unable to win this one.
That being said, heading into the Davidson game, this game was circled as a possible loss. Even while starting 8-0 in SoCon play, no one thought this was a sure win. Samford has too much talent and is too dangerous of a team to assume that.
The Mocs found themselves in trouble thanks to their old bugaboo....poor defense. They did not do a good job defensively in the second half and overtime, allowing Samford to shoot over 64% from the floor. The defense did a good job of forcing turnovers, forcing 15 on the game, but failed to be able to complete the job.
The Mocs did miss eleven free throws tonight, but they went just 2 of 6 in the first half. In the second half, the Mocs shot 72% from the line. I'm not going to beat on them too much for shooting 72% from the line in the second half.
Z Mason did not look like himself. He scored just nine points and had ten rebounds. He took five threes. Gee McGhee was the leading scorer with 21 points and played well, but struggled from the line. Casey Jones only scored ten points, which is low for him in recent weeks. Rico White poured in 21 points and Martynas Bareika scored 13 points.
The Mocs have now lost three out of four. But they get their next two at home against Western Carolina and Georgia Southern. The Mocs need better performances in those two games. While the Mocs still are very likely to come up with a bye (though nothing is certain- the magic number is two for getting a bye), they need to hold on to the two or three seed. More on that in an article Monday night. In some ways, Thursday will be a defining moment for this team. Playing at home against Western Carolina will be huge. We'll see how it turns out.
Right now, there are some questions about the Mocs. But this is not a terrible loss. The Mocs could afford this one, assuming they come back on Thursday and respond. We'll see how what the response is. This is going to be a tremendously interesting week for the Moc fans.