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Samford Center Plays Thursday

Samford center Marc Salyers will play in Thursday's first round of the NCAA Tournament despite his recent arrest on disorderly conduct and public intoxication charges.

Salyers, a 6-foot-9 sophomore and MVP of the Trans America Athletic Conference tournament, was arrested last Saturday at 2:15 a.m. after an incident at an off-campus party, police said.

Samford coach Jimmy Tillette said he investigated the incident and decided Salyers could play against St. John's in the first round of the South regional.

"Marc has made a mistake, but not to the extent it's being portrayed," Tillette said. "We've dealt with it within the team. Marc's not a good kid; he's a great kid."

According to the arrest report filed by Jefferson County sheriff's deputies, Salyers, "after being advised to leave, was observed cussing in the parking lot; was observed staggering around the parking lot with a strong odor of alcoholic beverage about his person."

Salyer's attorney disputed the charges.

David Cromwell Johnson said his client was arrested after someone else made a comment to police and Salyers later passed two breath alcohol tests.

"He wasn't intoxicated," Johnson said.

Johnson said a breath test given to Salyers at 4:30 a.m. gave a blood-alcohol level of .03, which is below Alabama's legal limit of .08. Johnson said a test at 7 a.m. registerd .00.

Samford earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the TAAC Tournament. It will be Samford's first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

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