SAMFORD, Ala. (WIAT) –With a current Southern Conference record of 9-2, Samford Men’s Basketball team might be following in their own footsteps from the 2022 season. Head Coach Bucky McMillan is leading the Bulldogs for his second year at Samford. Last year, McMillan took the team all the way to the SoCon semifinals in Asheville, where the Bulldogs lost to Furman 68-71.

Coming into this season, Samford has held a new passion for its basketball team, full of energy and support for the Bulldogs. McMillan coined the term “Bucky Ball” upon his arrival at Samford, and the student body has taken to the phrase, embracing it and the sport it represents.

This support has aided the team, with the Bulldogs winning their first eight SoCon games this season, beating worthy opponents like Chattanooga and Mercer.

“We have a real cool thing going here. When you look at conference win streaks, there’s not a lot of teams out there in the country that have remained unbeaten in nonconference,” McMillan says. “That means you are adaptable, and that means we are coming ready to play.”

In an unexpected turn of events, Samford had their first conference loss this season January 25th on the road against Furman. This led to another SoCon loss against Wofford only three days later. The Bulldogs took these losses seriously, as they came back to earn a win this past Wednesday against Western Carolina. The win against the Catamounts was a strong end to their time on the road before they come home to Samford.

“There’s no continuum for success. Just because we played well last game doesn’t mean we’re going to play well this game,” McMillan says. Taking the rest of the season with this mindset might just help the Bulldogs to face every game with a fresh start and a hunger for a trip back to the Southern Conference Championship in March.

The Bulldogs face ETSU this Saturday at 2:00pm in the Pete Hanna Center.