Greenville, S.C. (Furman SID) – Senior Stephen Croone poured in a season-high 31 points and nine different Paladins scored as Furman overpowered Mercer, 85-74, in front of a season-high 2,368 fans in Timmons Arena on Saturday.
The win marked the Paladins’ tenth consecutive home victory as Furman improved to 17-11 overall and 11-4 in the SoCon. Mercer dropped to 18-9 overall and 8-6 in league play.
Croone led the way for Furman with 31 points, two assists and two blocks, while Kris Acox finished the afternoon a perfect 7-for-7 from the floor, adding nine rebounds. Matt Rafferty recorded a career-high seven blocks, as the Paladins out-blocked the Bears 10-0.
The Bears opened up the game on a hot streak, making their first eight shots before the Paladins used a 17-7 run over the next 5:56 to grab the lead back from the Bears at 29-28. Mercer pushed its lead back to as much as five, but the Paladins continued to battle, heading into halftime down just three at 40-37.
After a steal and dunk by Croone to open the second half ignited the Furman crowd and cut the lead to one, the teams traded baskets until a Kris Acox gave the Paladins a one-point lead at 46-45 with 16:25 remaining. The Bears regained the lead on a Jordan Strawberry jumped, but John Davis III buried a three on the ensuing possession to put Furman ahead for good.
Furman led by as much as 19 in the second half and seniors Larry Wideman, Kendrec Ferrara, and Stephen Croone exited the game to standing ovations from the Furman crowd.
Mercer was led by Stephon Jelks with 17 points, while Jordan Strawberry added 15 and Cory Kilby added 13.
Furman is back in action next Saturday, February 20, traveling to Spartanburg, S.C., for a 7:00 p.m. matchup.