Saturday, February 17, 2018

Paladins pile up baskets in win at Samford

Travelers Rest's Andrew Brown had 20 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists in
Furman's 94-79 win at Samford Saturday. Photo courtesy of Furman.
The Furman men's basketball team reminded everyone that they have more than one way to earn a convincing win Saturday. After getting back on track with defense in lopsided wins the previous two times out, the Paladins hit the most field goals they've made in 13 seasons in a 94-79 win Saturday at Samford.

In running its winning streak to three, Furman (19-9, 10-5 Southern Conference) hit 40-of-75 (53.3 percent) of its shots from the field. That's the most field goals in a single game since Furman made 49 against Virginia Intermont on Dec. 29, 2004.

"I thought that first half was one of our best halves of offense this year," Furman coach Bob Richey said. "In the second half we settled for a few threes at times where I thought we could continue to drive and cut and keep getting easy twos.
"Overall though, you score 94 points on the road, have five guys in double figures and 24 assists. I'm definitely not disappointed in that."

Playing less than 48 hours after a home win against Chattanooga Thursday, the five-hour bus ride to Alabama didn't faze the Paladins who never trailed for the second game in a row. Jordan Lyons' 3-pointer just under seven minutes in gave Furman an 18-7 lead. Samford got no closer than nine the rest of the way and the three times the Bulldogs got the lead under 10, the Paladins had a quick response each time.

Samford trailed 18-9 before Daniel Fowler and John Davis drained jumpers and Lyons hit a layup over the next 62 seconds to push the lead to 15. It was 38-29 with just more than four minutes left in the first half when Devin Sibley dunked, and Matt Rafferty and Davis followed with layups to get the advantage back to 15. Lyons' 3-pointer with eight seconds left staked Furman to a 51-33 lead at the half.

The Paladins held a 23-11 rebounding advantage in the first half, along with 16 assists and just five turnovers.

"I thought we defended in the meat of the game really well, especially in the first half," Richey said. "They started to heat up in the second half. They're talented offensively and the numbers show it."

Furman led by as many as 21 in the second half before Samford got the lead down to 63-54 with 14:07 left. The Paladins responded with an 8-2 run to get it back to that familiar 15-point lead.

Furman finished with 24 assists and nine turnovers and a 40-29 rebounding edge, including 13 offensive boards. Even though the Paladins hit 11 3-pointers, they still put up 52 points in the paint. Furman generated its highest point total of any road game this season with only five free throw attempts (three made) as the Bulldogs were whistled for just seven fouls.

Andrew Brown scored 20 points to lead five Paladins in double figures and he also had seven rebounds and four assists. Sibley finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. Davis had 14 points, five assists and two steals. Rafferty had his fifth double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, along with four assists. Fowler had 12 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

Coming off the bench for the third straight game, Sibley also had no turnovers in 32 minutes. It's the first full game this season for Sibley in which he did not have a turnover. It comes after only one turnover in a 16-point, eight-rebound performance against Chattanooga.

"Devin's worked through this whole situation like I'd expect him to," Richey said. "He's doing a better job of being more efficient with his dribble. It's like I tell him, 'you should be able to do anything you need to do on that court with three or four dribbles.' "

Demetrius Denzel-Dyson had a game-high 25 points to lead Samford (9-20, 5-11).

Furman returns home Tuesday to face VMI at 7 p.m. on Senior Night.

"I encourage all of our fans and people in the community to come out and give these guys the recognition they deserve," Richey said. "In the last three years, we're at 61 wins. ... These four (seniors) have had a huge piece in that.
"I just think we need to make sure we do everything we can to get people out there. Let's make sure we have a rocking house Tuesday night to show these four seniors that we appreciate what they've done for this program."

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