Greenville, S.C. (Furman SID) — Stephen Croone scored a team-high 17 points and Furman shot 52.9% from the field en route to a 79-72 win over UNCG in Southern Conference men’s basketball action on Monday night at Timmons Arena.
The win marked Furman’s eighth consecutive home victory and improved the Paladins to 11-1 in the friendly confines of Timmons Arena. Furman moved to 15-11 overall and 9-4 in the SoCon, while UNCG slipped to 9-15 overall and 5-7 in the league.
Knotted at 33-33 at the break, Furman shot 56% in the second half and held the Spartans to 39.5% shooting to outscore the visitors 46-39 over the final 20 minutes. The Paladins opened the second half on a 14-6 run, highlighted by seven points from Matt Rafferty, and took a 47-39 lead with 14:25 to play when the Paladin freshman scored and completed a three-point play at the foul line.
UNCG trimmed Furman’s lead to three points on five occasions in the final 14 minutes, including with 5:38 to play when Diante Baldwin drained two free throws to pull the Spartans to within 64-61, but the Paladins held the Spartans scoreless for over 2:50 while Croone scored a layup and Acox made 3-of-4 free throws to up the margin to 69-61. Baldwin followed with a jumper, but Acox tipped in a Croone miss on Furman’s next possession to push the lead back to eight points and UNCG never got closer than five points the rest of the way.
The Paladins connected on 27-of-51 shots and converted on 19-of-25 trips to the foul line. Furman totaled 15 assists to just nine turnovers and outscored the Spartans 36-32 in the paint.
Crone made 5-of-8 shots from the field and 6-of-9 at the line to lead the way, while Acox tallied 15 points and eight rebounds. Rafferty rounded out the double figure scorers with 11 points and eight boards. Geoff Beans and Daniel Fowler contributed nine points apiece. John Davis III added seven points, four boards and four assists.
Forward Kayel Locke paced UNCG with 19 points, including 10 in the second half, while Francis Alonso and Baldwin tallied 12 points each. RJ White added 10 points.
The Spartan managed a 37-34 edge in rebounding and committed just eight turnovers, but shot only 43% from the floor and made just 10-of-16 free throws.
Furman continues its three-game homestand on Thursday night when it entertains The Citadel at 7 p.m. before closing the 2015-16 home schedule hosting Mercer at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Timmons Arena. Both games will be streamed live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. the final two home games can also be heard on the Furman IMG Radio Network at WGOG 101.7FM and FoxSports 1440AM, as well as, on your mobile device through the TuneIn Radio app. Links for the video stream, radio broadcast and live statistics are be posted at FurmanPaladins.com.
On Thursday when Furman hosts The Citadel, the Furman Trolley will operate from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. giving students a free ride to and from Timmons Arena. The trolley will pick up and drop off at South Housing, North Village and at the library. Furman’s student body has been a crucial part of the Paladins’ homecourt advantage in 2015-16 as Furman has posted a 11-1 record in Timmons Arena and recorded eight consecutive home victories.
Tickets are still available for Thursday and Saturday’s game. Visit the Timmons Arena Box Office or purchase your tickets online at FurmanPaladins.com.
NOTES: The Coach Niko Medved Show, which usually airs on Monday nights, will air on Tuesday, February 9, from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at Shortfield’s Restaurant in Travelers Rest, S.C.