Furman Splits Series with SoCon Leader UNCG
Furman loses one on the road but takes a home win too.
Coach Richey's team is gearing up for the conference tournament.
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Men’s Basketball split their home-and-home series against The University of North Carolina at Greensboro this week, winning at home 68-49 on Monday night, Feb. 8., and losing on the road in Greensboro, 64-58 on Feb. 11. Monday’s win was an example of the expected dominance from Bob Richey’s Paladins, and it made an exciting win after Saturday’s tough loss to Wofford.
“What you saw in my opinion was an expression of sacrificial basketball, trusting each other, moving the ball, flying around on defense,” said Richey, speaking on Saturday’s disconnected team “…and now all of the sudden we get to enjoy the fruit of that labor.”
Senior Alex Hunter collected a season-high of 19 points, providing further evidence of his consistency as an offensive leader for Furman. While Jalen Slawson controlled UNCG’s physically larger offense with six rebounds and a career-high of five blocked shots, Hunter led Furman’s 22-4 run, ticking down more than 10 minutes of the first. Slawson and Hunter connected the offense again in the second, building the 16-4 rush with a clean three and seven straight points, respectively. Both periods of dominance helped establish the 20-point cushion that would secure a Paladin win with under nine minutes remaining.
Fans saw the resurgence of Mike Bothwell, who tallied 12 points alongside first-time starter Garrett Hien and his career-high eight rebounds. The quickly improved ‘Dins squad secured a blowout, underdog win to stay 8-1 at home this season.
Wednesday’s trip to Greensboro for the Paladin-Spartan rematch did not hold the same scoring dominance, dropping the Paladin’s to 6-4 on a 64-58 loss against a comfortable UNCG team.
After falling behind in the first, the Paladin’s held on to a close margin for much of the second half. Two clean free-throws from Bothwell brought Furman within three with four minutes left on the clock, but their 1-for-10 shooting in the final minutes disrupted any chance at a comeback win.
Last minute messy shooting and Furman’s 18 turnovers did not help set up the win, but nonetheless, Furman’s Clay Mounce continued an impressive stats sheet with 19 points and a career-best 16 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.
The ‘Dins need to keep winning to close in on ETSU, Wofford and UNCG on the league table. With only six regular season contests remaining, each meeting becomes a key matchup for the Paladins.