GREENVILLE, S.C.–Furman saw its streak of 22-straight non-conference at Timmons Arean come to an end, as Navy posted a 77-66 win over the Paladins Sunday afternoon at Timmons Arena.
The Midshipmen, who opened the season with a win at No. 25 Virginia (W, 66-58) before losses at Virginia Tech (L, 57-77) and Louisville (L, 60-77) coming into this weekend, have won back-to-back games on Furman’s home floor, taking a 77-66 win in Timmons Arena.
With the win, the Midshipmen improved to 3-2 overall, while the Paladins dropped 3-2. The Midshipmen were led by John Carter, Jr., who posted a game-high 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, which included going 3-of-5 from three-point range. Carter Jr. connected on three of the four three-pointers in the contest for the Midshipmen. He also knocked down all four of his foul shot attempts to complete his 21-point effort.
Carter Jr. was joined in double figures by veteran guard Greg Summers, who added 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and 1-for-2 from the line, while Richard Njoku was a pefect 7-for-7 from the field for the afternoon to complete the contest to complete his 14-point effort.
Furman was paced by a season-high 20-point effort from Jalen Slawson, marking his fourth double-figure effort out of five games to start the 2021-22 season. Slawson finished the afternoon connecting on 8-of-13 shots from the field, including going 1-for-5 from the foul line. He also added seven rebounds, dished out five helpers, blocked four shots and recorded to steals to highlight another complete effort.
Slawson was one of three Paladins to finish in double figures, as Alex Hunter added 11 points, posting nine of those in the second half, while freshman forward Alex Williams finished with his first-ever double-digit scoring effort for the Paladins, as he finished with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field, including going 1-of-3 from long range and 1-for-2 at the line. Hunter also led the Paladins with seven assists in the setback.
Unlike Friday night’s win over Radford, Furman struggled to overcome some shooting struggles in the early going, and never seemed to find its offensive rhythm in the opening half, as the Midshipmen capitalized on a 58.6% shooting clip (17-of-29) to take a 38-31 lead into the halftime locker room.
Though the Paladins would find a little more offensive rhythm in the second half, the defense was lacking. There were chances to trim the lead. However, time and time again the Midshipmen drove the ball and got the ball exceedingly deep in the paint, and that simplification of the game led to easy shots, which eventually led to an even better shooting percentage in the second half, as the Midshipmen connected on a blistering 63.0% (17-of-27) clip in the second half.
Furman would get as close as two points in the second half, as the Paladins got it to a 42-40 game with following a Slawson three-point play the old-fashioned way with 13:28 remaining.
However, the Midshipmen would answer with four-straight points to go back ahead by six on a pair of layups by Tyler Nelson, which accouted for four of his eight points, with the second of those two-pointers putting Navy ahead 46-40 with 12:43 to play.
A Garrett Hien triple with 11:19 remaining got the Paladins to within four, at 49-45,. however, the Midshipmen would push the back to 10 points on a pair of buckets from Summers and one from Daniel Deaver, as Navy assumed a 55-45 lead with 9:19 remaining. A Conley Garrison three-pointer would get the Paladins back to within seven points with eight minutes to play.
Furman would get back to within four following a turnover from Navy, as Hunter connected on a three-pointer, making it a 55-51 Paladin deficit with 7:32 left. Once again, the Midshipmen provided an answer to the situation, as Sean Yoder knocked down a free throw line jumper, and followed by a 1-of-2 effort from Mike Bothwell at the free throw line, Navy went back up by seven on a Summers layup with 6:36 left, making it a 59-52 game.
The Paladins would get the Navy lead down to five points on five occasions during the final six-and-a-half minutes, however, each time Navy would have the perfect answer. After a Hunter jumper got the Paladins as close as five points a final time in the contest, at 68-63, with 2:30 remaining, the Midshipmen would close the game strong, using a 9-0 run in crunch time to close out the crucial road win.
A Njoku jumper in the lane as the shot clock expired ignited the run and gave the Midshipmen a 70-63 lead with just under two minutes left. After a Bothwell turnover, Njoku made it four-straight points on another short jumper in the paint to make it a 72-63 game.
Following a missed Hunter three, the Paladins were forced to give a pair of fouls from Bothwell and Hunter to put the Midshipmen at the line and in the seven-foul, one-and-one bonus. Carter Jr. stepped to the line to knock down a pair of free throws, giving Navy a double-digit lead, at 74-63 with 57 seconds remaining.
A missed Slawson triple would lead to Summers being fouled again, and he converted 1-of-2 from the charity stripe to make it a 75-63 game with 32 seconds remaining. A Summers steal and dunk brought the Navy bench to its feet, making it a 77-63 contest with 22 seconds remaining.
The final points of the day came with 12 seconds remaining, as Hunter knocked down a three to provide the final margin of 11 points.
Postgame Press Conference: