By Lane Fahey, Columnist
With a month left in the season, both the men’s and women’s basketball teams are striving for strong finishes in anticipation of the Southern Conference (SoCon) playoffs.
After two tough losses against conference rivals Chattanooga and Wofford, the men’s basketball team looked to redeem themselves against another SoCon team, the East Tennessee State Bucs Thurs. Jan. 19. With a 10 point lead going into the half, the Paladins defeated the Bucs, 75-62.
Towards the beginning of the season, the men’s team seemed to be going back and forth in the win and loss columns. However, all but two of their losses have been a difference of six points or less.
“We’ve lost a lot of close games that we should’ve won, but for some reason so far we haven’t been able to close out like we should,” senior forward Kris Acox said.
An improvement for the team this year has been winning on the road. At this point in the season last year, the Paladins were 1-8 on the road and 9-10 overall. They are currently 5-6 on the road and 11-8 overall.
“We won a lot of games on the road this year that we struggled to do last year. As a team I feel that we’re playing a lot better, much better basketball then we have these past few years,” Acox said.
Not only has the road record been impressive, but the Paladins have had a historic home record as well. With the victory over ETSU, Furman has won thirteen straight SoCon home games, a new school record.
Devin Sibley leads the team in total points with 304, as the Dins look to take on various conference rivals in the few remaining weeks of the regular season.
The women’s season has consisted of both winning and losing streaks that have all lasted at least four games. Furman began their season by dropping their first four games. Most recently, the Paladins were on a six game winning streak until that was cut short by Mercer, also Thurs. Jan. 19, with the final 76-52. With an even record at 10-10, the team is looking to keep focus the rest of the season.
“We had a few setbacks at the beginning of the year. With six new kids on the team, the chemistry is obviously going to be a little off since none of us had ever played together, but after a few games we definitely figured each other out, and it has helped us throughout the rest of the year. We all know our jobs, and we knew the chemistry would come as long as we stayed focused,” freshman guard Sydney Long said via email.
The captains of the team have helped the younger players throughout the season.
“Whitney (Bunn), DJ (DeAnneisha Jackson) and Cierra (Carter) are definitely the leaders on the team, which is why they were named captains at the beginning of the year. They know what Coach Carson wants from us, and they make sure everything is done the right way. Whitney (Bunn) is playing really well this season. She gets us going as a unit and she keeps us focused on what we need to do, and keeps us calm in stressful games,” Long said.
With 10 games left in the women’s season, there is only one goal on this team’s mind: “we want a ring,” Long said.