BIRMINGHAM, Ala. --- In its first exhibition game of the 2007-08 season, the Samford basketball team rallied for a 75-62 victory against the Oglethorpe Stormy Petrels. The preseason contest was the last to be held in Seibert Hall before the Bulldogs move over to the brand-new Pete Hanna Center on Monday.
Samford's Curtis West added 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field. The Bulldogs shot 53.1 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from beyond the arc.
Oglethorpe (0-1 exhibition play) used a full-court pressing defense all game long and jumped out to an early 16-10 lead. The Stormy Petrels were led in scoring by Joe Kennedy who finished with a game-high 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting.
In the first half, Kennedy scored 16 of his 21 points and knocked down a 23-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer to give Oglethorpe a 35-34 lead at the half.
"I thought that it was great that they pressured us the whole game," said Samford head coach Jimmy Tillette. "It was definitely good for us to get some work against that and they were a difficult team to play with a bunch of guards out there. They shot the ball great in the first half and we were fortunate that in the second half they cooled off some."
After shooting 56 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes of play, Oglethorpe only connected on 9-of-28 attempts in the second half. Samford shot 50 percent from the floor in the first half and increased its mark to 56 percent in the final period.
Samford opened the second half with a 14-4 run and took a 48-39 lead with 11:34 to play in the game. Bedwell scored seven of the Bulldogs' first 14 points in the final period and finished with 15 in the half. Samford's speedy sharpshooter from Hartselle, Ala., was 5-of-7 from the floor and 6-of-8 from the free throw line.
"I thought that all of our seniors played really well tonight and I thought that Josh Bedwell was really good," Tillette said. "We received a pretty good contribution from a guy that was playing as a true freshman and had never played a game before. I also thought that Jim Griffin played well in the second half and that Andy (King) played better."
Senior Joe Ross Merritt finished with seven points and four rebounds, while sophomore Jim Griffin tallied seven points and three rebounds.
Sophomore point guard Trey Montgomery battled Oglethorpe's press all night long and scored five points while dishing out three assists. He also pulled down three rebounds in 23 minutes of play.
Sophomore Bryan Friday and true freshman Josh Davis finished with four points and two points, respectively.
"You look down the bench at all of our experience and it's not a lot," said Tillette. "I'm pleased because I thought that we did a lot of good things. We definitely need to get better and we will."
The Samford University basketball team will next be in action Monday at 7:30 p.m., as the Bulldogs conclude their exhibition season against the Lindsey Wilson Blue Raiders. The game will follow the women's exhibition versus Montevallo and will be the team's first contest played in the brand-new 32-million-dollar Pete Hanna Center.