Monday, December 4, 2017

Paladins basketball bounces back with defense

Matt Rafferty (32) had nine points, 14 rebounds, three assists and five steals
in Furman's 64-50 win over Tennessee Tech. Photo courtesy of Furman.
Following its first loss this season to a team that hasn't played in the national championship game in the last seven years, the Furman men's basketball team bounced back strong Saturday with a 64-50 win over Tennessee Tech at Timmons Arena.

The defensive effort was more like what the Paladins have come to expect during the program's rise the last couple of years. It came days after allowing 52 points in the opening half of a 93-74 home loss to Winthrop.

Furman (5-3) held Tennessee Tech to 33.3 percent shooting from the floor, including 2-of-19 (10.5 percent) on 3-pointers. The Golden Eagles (7-2) saw their six-game winning streak, which included a victory at The Pit over New Mexico, snapped.

Furman led 14-13 midway through the first half before an 11-0 run over the next five minutes gave the Paladins a commanding lead that was never seriously threatened. Tennessee Tech did have a 10-0 flurry over a 78-second stretch early in the second half, capped by Aleksa Jugovic's four-point play. That cut Furman's lead to single digits for the only time in the second half.

On the Paladins' ensuing possession, Matt Rafferty's 3-pointer pushed the lead back to 10. That sparked a 13-1 run that ended on another Rafferty 3-pointer as Furman took a 49-30 lead with 11:35 to play.

Furman didn't exactly shoot the lights out either at 34.4 percent. The difference came from beyond the arc as the Paladins hit 10 3-pointers, albeit in 36 attempts. John Davis scored a game-high 16 points to lead Furman. Daniel Fowler scored 12, while Rafferty had nine points, 14 rebounds, three assists and five steals.

After suffering an injury that sidelined him for most of the Winthrop game, Devin Sibley returned to the Paladins' lineup but may have still been feeling the effects of the injury. Sibley was 1-of-12 from the floor, including 0-of-7 on 3-pointers.

• Furman returns to action Tuesday as it hosts UNC Asheville at 7:30 p.m. Prior to the men's game, the Furman women host Bob Jones at 5 p.m. Fans who bring a new, unwrapped toy for the Think Twice Foundation's toy drive will receive a $6 general admission ticket.

• The 2017-18 season debut of Furman coach Bob Richey's radio show will be tonight from 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at Shortfield's Restaurant in Travelers Rest. The show can be heard on FoxSports 1440-AM, on the TuneIn Radio app and through Stretch Audio at

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