Furman Stumbles Against Wofford, Has Work Cut Out for Them in Conference Tourney
The Paladins have plenty of things to work on for next week's Southern Conference Tournament.
Wofford has proven to be a consistent kryptonite and The Paladins will likely face the Terriers or UNCG in a final Conference Tournament game.
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The Furman Men’s Basketball team fought a close game on Saturday Feb. 27 but ultimately lost to in-state rival Wofford. A final score of 74-73 was capped off by a late game miss on the final possession. Noah Gurley threw up a last chance three-pointer with about seven seconds left after Wofford secured control of the game with a rebound and put-back to go up 74-73 on the possession prior. The Paladins shot 45.6% from the field and looked sharp offensively; however, defensive mishaps proved too fatal. Gurley led the team with 29 points and seven rebounds. Clay Mounce and Mike Bothwell both contributed 12 points each. However, Furman struggled to control the temp for most of the game. The Paladins battled most of the game and were only down one point going into halftime but a 10-0 run by the Terriers to start the second half was an ominous sign for Furman.
The game proved important for a couple of reasons. First, with a win, Furman would have secured a regular season title in the Southern Conference. After being picked first by the media, including The Paladin, Furman underperformed and finished third. UNCG and Wofford secured the top two spots in the Conference. The Paladins finished the regular season at 16-8 overall and 10-5 in the Southern Conference. Secondly, if for some reason the Conference tournament next weekend, Mar. 5-7, struggles to take place then Furman will, once again, miss out on an NCAA Tournament bid and appearance. Barring any extraneous circumstances, Furman will still have the chance to fight for that NCAA bid. However, if any COVID-19 related issues or circumstantial problems arise and no conference tournament takes place then UNCG will represent the Southern Conference in March. Smaller, mid-major conferences do not typically receive at large bids; thus, the regular season title holder will receive the conference bid.
Furman has plenty to work on and fix before the weekend tourney. Defense needs to be sharper, turnovers minimized, and three-point shot selectivity needs focus. Coach Richey and his impact on the program’s success has been noticed; Furman has been successful at home and in the regular season the past three or four years, but ultimately, The Paladins have failed to win when it truly matters. Wofford has proven to be a consistent kryptonite and The Paladins will likely face the Terriers or UNCG in a final Conference Tournament game. Next Saturday’s game, Mar. 6, is a chance to flip the script and work towards that NCAA bid that so many players and fans desire; a bid 31 years in the making. Saturday's Southern Conference quarterfinal round game will be streamed live on ESPN+ at 8:00pm EST.