By Greg Peterson, Contributing Writer
The Furman Paladins men’s basketball team began a three-game home stand with a victory over University of North Carolina-Greensboro 79-72.
After losing to SoCon-leading Chattanooga, the Paladins bounced back to extend their home winning-streak to eight and improve its overall record at Timmons Arena to 11-1. The Paladins were led by senior guard Stephen Croone who had 17 points, with 13 coming in the second half, and junior forward Kris Acox, who had 15 points and eight rebounds.
UNCG began the game by hitting several quick jump shots and led 12-8, forcing a Fuman timeout. After the timeout, sophomore forward Geoff Beans rattled in back-to-back three pointers, and the Paladins went on a 14-2 run.
Furman went into halftime tied with UNCG 33-33, and opened the second half by trading baskets with the Spartans, who eventually chipped into the Paladins lead, making it 53-50 with 10:53 left in the half. The Paladins finally pulled away from the Spartans for good when Acox scored five straight points that led to a Paladins 7-2 run capping at 2:09 left in the game.
Furman continued its outstanding play in Timmons Arena, beating The Citadel 95-75 Thursday night. Freshman forward Matt Rafferty had a career-high in points and his seventh double-double of the season with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
The Bulldogs hung around in the first half until the 12:42 mark, when the Paladins went on an 11-3 run. The Paladins went into halftime on top 42-26, with an 11-0 run and converted three consecutive three pointers.
Croone had the first points of the second half with a three pointer. The score helped Croone pass Bruce Evans and Dick Wright to become the number six scorer in Furman’s all-time scoring list with 1,783 points. The Bulldogs would never recover, and the Paladins would march on to their ninth-straight home win.
Furman seniors Stephen Croone, Kendrec Ferrara and Larry Wideman won their final game at Timmons Arena last Saturday afternoon over Mercer 85-74. The Paladins had a block party with 10 blocks and 15 points off turnovers on Furman Legend’s Day.
Mercer started the game going a perfect 8-8 from the field, resulting with a 19-11 lead with 15:01 left in the half. The Paladins would claw their way back into the game after an 18-9 run over the next 8:15, but the Bears would quickly regain the lead and enter halftime with a 40-37 lead.
Croone would lead the Paladins with a season-high 31 points and scored the first five points of the second half. Both teams would trade baskets until 16:25 left in the half when Acox’s layup began a 12-4 run that resulted in a 53-49 Paladin lead with 14:22 that was never given up.
Furman finished their 2015-16 home record at 13-1 and winning its last ten home games. The Paladins look to extend their three-game win streak at rival Wofford (Feb. 20) and East Tennessee State (Feb. 25), and later traveling to and finishing the regular season against Western Carolina (Feb. 27).