Saturday, February 3, 2018

Furman blows 17-point lead in loss at Citadel

Daniel Fowler had 10 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists and 0 turnovers in Furman's
100-92 overtime loss at The Citadel Saturday. Photo courtesy of Furman.
CHARLESTON - For the first 72-and-a-half combined minutes of Furman's two games against The Citadel this season, the Paladins outscored their biggest rival 184-128. But somehow the season series ended up in a split.

Citadel outscored Furman 27-11 over the final 7:18 of regulation Saturday and the Bulldogs went on to a 100-92 overtime win at McAlister Field House. When the teams met in Greenville a month ago, the Paladins won 107-67.

Furman led by as many as 17 in the second half Saturday. Last season in Charleston, the Paladins saw a 28-point second half lead cut to three before hanging on. Three Citadel 3-pointers and a layup in the final 59 seconds of regulation sunk Furman's hopes of hanging on Saturday. The Bulldogs then scored the first seven points of overtime to help seal the improbable win.

"They hit some tough (3-pointers), but they also hit some open ones (down the stretch). That's what they do, and they do it well at home," Furman coach Bob Richey said. "I didn't think we had the defensive focus. We were a half-second late on a lot of assignments.
"We thought we got up and we thought we were good. The next thing you know, they're hitting all these threes. Then we got a little passive offensively. It's a bad recipe for success."

Furman (16-8, 7-4 Southern Conference) led by 10 with less than two minutes left in regulation. Citadel's Kaelon Harris had a layup and a three-point play sandwiched around a Devin Sibley missed free throw to cut the lead to 82-77 with 1:13 left. The Bulldogs then began trading two free throws for 3-pointers.

Jordan Lyons hit two free throws before Harris hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 84-80 with 59 seconds left. Daniel Fowler hit two free throws before Zane Najdawi hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 86-83 with 42 seconds left. John Davis hit two free throws before Matt Frierson's hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 88-86.

After that 3-pointer though, Furman didn't substitute someone in for Sibley as it had done on previous offensive possessions in the final two minutes. Sibley, who entered Saturday shooting 58.1 percent from the foul line, missed a pair of free throws with 30 seconds left. Citadel's Frankie Johnson, who missed a game-tying layup with five seconds left against ETSU on Monday, hit the game-tying layup with five seconds left Saturday.

On Furman's last possession of regulation, Fowler passed to Davis, who was knocked to the ground as he went for the catch. The ball went out of bounds as time expired. Officials reviewed the video and couldn't find a foul.

Citadel made its first six shots of the game for a 16-9 lead 4:30 into the game. Furman answered with a 10-2 run capped by Clay Mounce's 3-pointer that gave the Paladins their first lead. Geoff Beans' 3-pointer with 8:48 left in the first half gave Furman a lead it didn't relinquish until Johnson's layup with five seconds left.

Facing a Citadel team that ranks No. 3 in the country in turnovers forced at 18.6, Furman had just two turnovers in the first half. Lyons' buzzer-beating 3-pointer gave the Paladins a 52-44 lead at the break. Furman finished with 10 turnovers, including two critical ones in overtime. The Paladins were 11-of-26 on 3-pointers before missing their final seven, including all six in overtime.

"It was very similar to last year here, but the missed a couple late (last year) and we rebounded them. Today, they didn't miss any of them late and we missed some free throws," Richey said. "Wofford lost in here. ETSU almost lost in here and they won at Mercer. Anybody who's following the league right now knows that Citadel's playing really well.
"Sometimes we over-hype wins and we overreact to losses. We've got to figure out what we've got to do to get better, then go do that and march forward."

Davis and Sibley led Furman wih 18 points apiece. Matt Rafferty had 14 points and eight rebounds, but a season-high four turnovers. Rafferty had just one turnover in his previous four games combined. Lyons finished with 12 points, while Fowler had 10 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and no turnovers. Making his first start this season in place of injured Andrew Brown, Geoff Beans had nine points on 3-of-4 3-point shooting. Clay Mounce had nine points and eight rebounds also for the Paladins.

Najdawi scored a game-high 28 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots for Citadel (9-14, 4-7). Frierson had 21 points, while Harris had 18 points and seven rebounds. Johnson finished with nine points and nine assists.

Furman returns to action Wednesday as the Paladins host UNC Greensboro at 7 p.m.

1 comment:

  1. Very disappointing loss. If the games were 35 minutes FU would be undefeated in the SoCon. This veteran team is not finishing games like it should.