The Samford men's and women's basketball teams took care of business Tuesday night, making history along the way by winning first round games in the O'Reilly Auto Parts/Ohio Valley Conference tournament. (www.samfordsports.com)
The Samford women beat archrival Jacksonville State University 58-56, and the Samford men defeated Tennessee State University 78-67 before a raucous crowd at Seibert Hall on the Samford campus. It was the first time for both teams to win first round tournament games since Samford joined the OVC in 2003, and it was the first conference tournament win for the Samford women's team since 2001.
Both teams now advance to the OVC semifinals Friday at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville. The Samford women will play Southeast Missouri State University at 2 p.m., and the Samford men will play Tennessee Tech University at 8 p.m. The men's game will be televised by national cable network ESPN-U.
The women's championship game will be played at 11 a.m. Saturday, and the men's championship game will be played at 3 p.m. The men's game will be televised on EPSN2. Winners of both tournament championship games receive automatic bids to the NCAA tournament.
Tickets are available through noon Thursday at the Samford ticket office in Seibert Hall. Athletics Director Robert Roller encouraged Samford fans to buy the tournament booklet for $40, which allows fans to attend all semifinal games and both championship games on Saturday. Single session tickets are available for $22 each.
Tickets also can be purchased through the Ohio Valley Conference, and fans should request seats in the Samford sections. (www.ovcsports.com)
Samford students can get tickets for games in Nashville for $5 with a valid Samford student identification card.
The Samford Alumni Association and the Samford athletics department will host a hospitality room in suites D-H at the Gaylord Entertainment Center beginning at noon Friday. The Samford pep band and cheerleaders, along with Spike the mascot, will be in Nashville.