Furman (19-11, 11-6 SoCon) will close out the 2021-22 regular-season Saturday afternoon with a trip to the low country of the Palmetto State to take on The Citadel (12-16, 6-11 SoCon) in a key league battle.
Furman, which has already locked up a top three seed in the SoCon Tournament for a seventh-straight season, will look to garner the No. 2 seed with a win at McAlister Field House in a game slated for a 1 p.m. tip-off Saturday afternoon.
It will mark the 217th all-time meeting between the two bitter rivals, with Furman holding a 129-87 all-time series edge, which includes a 102-83 win in Greenville back on Feb. 2. The 102-83 win by the Paladins is one of the three games in which the Paladins have eclipsed the 100-point plateau this season.
The other two times include wins over North Greenville (122) and Western Carolina (103). Furman super senior Alex Hunter comes in having eclipsed the 300 threshold for three-pointers in his career last time out in the loss at Samford, as part of a 16-point effort in the 83-75 setback.
Saturday will also mark the final time before the home crowd for four Bulldogs, including preseason SoCon Player of the Year and Greer, S.C., native Hayden Brown. Brown has 46 rebounds in his last three games, as the Bulldogs have played some of their best basketball at times this season, despite having lost three of their last four games.
His 46 boards puts him over at over 700 in his career, posting 18 in a loss to ETSU and 19 in a road setback to Samford. It’s the first time a Bulldog has ever posted 18 or more rebounds in back-to-back games.
Brown currently ranks 11th in school history in scoring, with 1,341-career points. The Citadel is locked into the No.8-No.9 game in the SoCon Tournament, with the winner of that contest set to face Chattanooga in the first quarterfinal Saturday. Depending on Saturday’s results, the Bulldogs could finish as the No. 8 or No. 9 seed. The Bulldogs will face East Tennessee State in the opening game of the SoCon Tournament Friday night.
Last time out for the Paladins:
Samford 83, Furman 75 (Pete Hanna Center)
Samford shot 60% (31-of-52) for the game and claimed its ninth win in 10 games, downing Furman 83-75 on senior night inside the Pete Hanna Center. With the win, Samford became the second team in the Southern Conference to win 20 games this season, improving to 20-9 overall and 10-7 in league play, while the Paladins drop to 19-11 overall and 11-6 in SoCon play.
With the win, Samford ensured it would not be swept by any team in the league this season. It also marks just the third time in its Division I history that the Bulldogs have won 20 or more games in a regular-season. The win snapped a streak of five-straight wins in the series by the Paladins, and it also avenged an 81-49 loss by the Bulldogs at Timmons Arena earlier this season.
The Paladins need a win or a Samford loss Saturday to secure the No. 2 seed for the upcoming Southern Conference Tournament in Asheville. The Bulldogs are holding strong with the No. 3 seed, and with a win at Chattanooga Saturday and a Furman loss at The Citadel, would claim the No. 2 seed, while Furman would fall to the No. 3 seed.
The Bulldogs closed out the season with an impressive 13-2 record on their home floor, including an 8-1 mark against SoCon foes on their home hardwood. The lone SoCon team to win inside the Pete Hanna Center this season was East Tennessee State back on Jan. 15, downing the Bulldogs, 88-85. The only other team to win inside the Pete Hanna Center this season was Belmont, which claimed an 85-73 win in Homewood back on Dec. 5.
Ques Glover, who didn’t play in the first meeting between Furman and Samford this season, led all scorers with a game-high 22 points and was one of four Bulldogs in double figures in the win. He connected on 8-of-16 shots from the field, which included going 2-for-4 from three-point range, as well as posting a 4-for-7 effort from the free throw line. Glover also dished out six assists, posted four rebounds and added a steal to finish out a solid night on both ends of the floor.
Glover was joined in double figures scoring-wise by Logan Dye, who posted 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field, including a 1-of-2 effort from long-range, while grabbing six rebounds, and posting one assist and one steal. Jermaine Marshall just missed a double-double effort with 16 points and nine boards, which saw him go 4-for-8 from the field and 8-for-10 from the line. Jaden Campbell closed out the double-figure scorers with 12 points.
Furman also had four in double figures, which included Mike Bothwell, who led the way for the Paladins with 21 points on 8-of-18 shooting from the field and 3-for-9 from three-point range. Bothwell also went 2-for-3 from the free throw line. He added six rebounds and dished out five assists.
Also in double figures for the Paladins in the contest were Alex Hunter, who added 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field and was 4-for-7 from three-point range, while adding three assists, two rebounds and a steal. Marcus Foster turned in another strong performance, posting his fourth double figures scoring performance in his last five outings, as he finished with 12 points on 3-of-7 shooting from the field, including going 2-of-3 from three-point land. Foster was also a perfect 4-for-4 at the charity stripe.
Jalen Slawson rounded out the Paladins in double figures in the contest, as he added 10 points, eight boards, six assists and a steal in what was another stat-stuffing effort. He finished 5-of-9 from the floor.
The Bulldogs finished the night holding advantages in points in the paint (44-30) and fast-break points (12-4). The Paladins ended the night holding advantages in bench points (11-7), total assists (19-11), second-chance points (23-6), and both teams were tied with 11 points from turnovers, as well as total rebounds (29-29). Furman also held an 11-6 advantage in offensive rebounds.
Furman finished the contest by connecting on 43.8% (28-of-64), including 34.3% (12-of-35) from three-point range. The Bulldogs finished the contest connecting on 46.7% (7-of-15) from three-point range. The Bulldogs finished by connecting on 73.7% (14-of-19) from the line, while Furman went 77.8% (7-of-9) from the charity stripe.
How It Happened:
Samford led by as many as 11 points (76-65) in the second half before Furman mounted a furious rally before the Bulldogs were able to close out the win at the charity stripe en route to an eight-point, 83-75, win to close out their home slate with a 13-2 overall home record.
The Bulldogs started out the game strong, scoring the first four points before Furman responded with an 8-0 run, capped by an Alex Hunter triple to take an 8-4 lead with 15:35. Samford came back with a 7-0 run of its own to take the lead back, 11-8, with 13:38 remaining in the opening half following a layup by Logan Dye. The game continued to see-saw back-and-forth midway through the opening half of play. With Samford leading 16-14, Furman would respond with another mini-run of its own, using a 7-2 run to assume what was a 21-18 lead following a Hunter layup with just under nine minutes remanning in the opening half of play.
Samford fought back to take back the lead, 22-21, following another layup by Dye with exactly seven minutes remaining in the opening half of play. The Bulldogs then built a bit of a cushion, increasing their lead to as much as five, at 27-22, following a three-pointer by Ques Glover. Four-straight points on buckets by a Garrett Hien layup and a vicious two-handed slam dunk down the middle of the lane by Tyrese Hughey saw the Paladins close to within a point, at 27-26, with 5:15 remaining in the first half.
Samford would push its lead back to five on a pair of consecutive buckets of its own, using a three-pointer by Dye and a made free throw by Glover with 3:52 left in the opening half, making it 31-26 game. Hunter answered with a three on the ensuing possession to get the Paladins back to within two. Samford got a three from Jaden Campbell to extend its lead back to five, at 34-29, before Marcus Foster answered for Furman with a pair of free throws to get Furman back within three points with 2:16 left.
Following a Glover three with 1:38 to play in the half, which made it a 36-31 Bulldogs lead, Furman closed the half with a Conley Garrison triple to get within 36-34 with just under a minute left in the half, and that’s how the two teams would enter the halftime locker room.
Furman assumed an early in the second half, taking a 42-40 lead following a layup by Garrison with 17:23 left in the game. After Cooper Kaifes tied the game on a jumper, Mike Bothwell answered with a one-handed tomahawk slam down the middle of the lane with 15:49 left in the game to give the Paladins a 46-44 lead. A Jermaine Marshall layup tied the game on Samford’s next possession tied the game, 46-46, before a Foster three-pointer gave the Paladins a three-point lead, 49-46, with 15:14 remaining. Glover made a layup and was fouled in the process by Furman’s Foster, and his ensuing foul shot tied the game once again, 49-49, with 15:06 left.
Glover’s layup commenced a 9-0 run by the Bulldogs, which saw them assume a 55-49 lead following a couple of free throws by Marshall. The Bulldogs would eventually increase their lead to eight with just under 12 minutes remaining following a layup by Jacob Tryon, 60-52.
The Paladins would keep it close after seeing Samford’s lead grow to nine (64-55) following a pair of Marshall free throws with 9:53 left. Furman chipped away over the next five minutes, cutting the Samford lead to three, at 68-65, following a triple by Bothwell with 4:38 left. From there, Samford launched a run which would prove to be decisive, using an 8-0 run, which was capped by a pair of foul shots from Campbell to give Samford its biggest lead of the game, at 76-65, with 2:17 remaining.
A furious rally by the Paladins, which saw Furman get to within two on a 10-1 run, making it a 77-75 with 33 seconds left on a pair of Foster foul shots. Samford was able to get its lead back to six, using four foul shots and a missed three-pointer by Hunter to make it an 81-75 game with 22 seconds left and were able to withstand a final flurry by the Paladins.
Furman will close out the regular-season with a trip to take on arch-rival The Citadel Saturday on Senior Day at McAlister Field House. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. in Charleston.