By Alex Wilcox, Contributor
After wins against Presbyterian College and Appalachian State, the Paladins began play in the mainland portion of the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament.
The University of Connecticut Huskies played host in its second all-time meeting with the Paladins Sat., Nov. 21, and the undefeated Huskies came ready to play.
The first half was tough, as Furman was held to only two points in the paint and shot 20 percent from the field. The Paladins started out shooting 1-6 from the field, and by that time the Huskies had already jumped out to a 12-4 lead.
Furman’s starting big men, senior forward Kendrec Ferrara and junior forward Kris Acox, seemed outmatched, as neither one shot over 25 percent from the field and scored a combined six points. The Paladins only managed to score two baskets within the three-point line in the first half and struggled in the interior.
Backup forwards sophomore Geoff Beans and freshman Matt Rafferty shined with a combined 29 points, as Beans shot an efficient 45 percent from behind the arc.
Senior guard Stephen Croone, who is coming off of thumb surgery, looked unlike himself, only cashing in four points while shooting 1-9 from the field.
“We shot too many threes today. They are a team that, for us, is difficult to score on with the big guys inside,” head coach Niko Medved said. “We shot too many, but a lot of good shooters missed a lot of open shots today.”
The Paladins currently sit at 2-3 coming off a defeat by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
The two teams traded the lead back and forth several times throughout the first half, with A&M taking a 29-27 lead into halftime.
The Paladins only led briefly in the second half, but were able to keep it a very competitive game throughout. After Rafferty’s layup to pull the Paladins within two with 10 seconds remaining, they immediately fouled A&M. Two made free throws put the game out of reach and the game ended with a final score of 73-69.
The Paladins had three players scoring in double digits: sophomore guard Devin Sibley with 12, Rafferty with 16 and a return to form for Croone, who cashed in 22 points while shooting 91 percent from the freethrow line.
In its final game of the Battle for Atlantis tournament, Furman knocked off Mt. St. Mary’s 69-60. The Mountaineers are currently winless this season, but still had four players score in double digits.
Croone continued his hot streak on 5-9 shooting which netted him 17 points.
The Paladins as a whole were on fire, shooting a combined 51 percent from the field despite the team’s continued struggles from behind the arc, where only 35 percent of the shots landed.
The Paladins will return home on Tues., Dec. 8 at 7 p.m to face the Liberty Flames.