Flying to new heights

Martin Samarco has two game winners this season and a 40-point game to his credit, but if you ask him, the only statistic he cares about is his team’s record of 10-4.

“[Scoring 43 points] really doesn’t excite me,” Samarco said. “My main goal is winning a championship. Stats don’t really matter.”

Samarco is one of the main reasons the BG men’s basketball team has achieved so much this season. The team enters their second game in Mid-American Conference play off one of their more dramatic wins on the season.

The team trailed by 11 points in the game over the weekend against Buffalo in the final 4:48 and rallied back to take a one point victory on Samarco’s game winning three pointer while being guarded by two guys.

“He made a good shot,” said Buffalo coach Reggie Witherspoon. “We tried to make it tough on him – we just didn’t make it tough enough.”

Samarco, the ultimate team player, talked about what they did as a team and not about himself as an individual player

“As a team we built a lot confidence,” Samarco said. “We fought back from an 11-point lead in so little time. It just shows that if you don’t play 40 minutes of Bowling Green basketball, we’ll get blown out. We got to keep the pressure on, we can’t get tired mentally.”

Samarco is averaging 22.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game on the season, up almost four points per game and about two more assists per game than last season.

“One of the things that Martin is trying to do much better this year is to play defense and get others involved,” said BG coach Dan Dakich. “He’s done a really good job at being a leader.”

With 10 wins this season, the team already has one more win than they did all of last season, and coach Dakich attributes the team’s success to Samarco’s play.

“After last year, everyone knew he could score,” Dakich said. “My point with him is that you are judged on winning. If you are a great player, you got to win – just look at Chris Leak [Monday] night.

“Martin’s always been about winning, but last year it just seemed like he felt he had to do so much. This year it’s like he knows he can get shots within the offense but he also knows has to play defense and get others involved.”

Samarco’s 22 points per game is leading the MAC and is four points better than the next closest player. But the 22 points would not mean as much to Samarco if the team wasn’t winning.

“We don’t care who hits the game winner, we all play for each other.” Samarco said. “My teammates have confidence in me. They are going to do their best to get me the ball and I am going to do my best to get the ball. Everyone knows their roles and we try to play to win.”

With his 43 point outing in the last game against Buffalo, Samarco became the third BGSU player to score 40 points in the history of Anderson Arena. He joined Howard Komives and Jay Larranaga as the only players to top the 40 point barrier.

Scoring points is not important to Samarco. The most satisfying thing to Samarco about this past weekend’s game against Buffalo was not his 43 points but that his team earned a hard fought victory over a conference foe.

“We have had a better season this because of the work that [Martin] did in the summer on and off the court to become the leader of this team,” Dakich said.