Five Furman players scored in double figures, and Furman recorded season highs in points (106) and assists (29), as the Paladins posted a 106-79 non-conference win over the Anderson University Trojans. It was the final non-conference game before Furman begins SoCon play in-earnest on Dec. 29 against VMI.
With the win, Furman secured a 9-4 record through non-conference play, which is a full game better than it was at this point last season, as the Paladins did so against arguably a tougher schedule in 2022-23.
The Paladins got a career-high tying 20 points to go along with six assists and two steals from sophomore point guard J.P. Pegues, as he finished the contest by connecting on 7-of-12 shots from the field, including going 5-of-9 from three-point range.
Pegues was joined in double figures in the contest by Jalen Slawson (18 pts), Marcus Foster (17 pts), Garrett Hien (14 pts) and Ben VanderWal (13 pts). For VanderWal, the 13 points also represented a career-high, as the freshman also finished the contest by connecting on 3-of-8 shots from the field and was a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe.
A game after posting a career-high 36 points, senior guard Mike Bothwell posted a career-best eight assists. He also scored nine points, ripped down five rebounds, and recorded a steal. The Paladins were led on the backboards by Slawson and Foster, who both registered six rebounds apiece.
Anderson, which is coached by former Furman assistant Jimmy Williams, who was presented with a commemorative basketball before tip-off, was led by Myles Jenkins, who led all scorers with 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Jenkins finished connecting on 10-of-13 shots from the field, including going 3-for-3 from three-point range. He was joined in double figures by Garrett Denbow (18 pts) and Luke Denbow (13 pts).
Furman finished the game connecting on 50.7% (35-of-69) shots from the field and connected on a season-best 17 three-point field goals, connecting on 38.6% (17-of-44) from long range.
Anderson, meanwhile, finished the game by connecting on 49.2% (31-of-63) from the field, which included a 40.0% (10-of-25) shooting effort from three-point land.
Furman finished the night holding advantages in points in the paint (36-32), points from turnovers (27-11), fast break points (24-6), total rebounds (35-34), total assists (29-12), and bench scoring (32-8). Anderson held a slight advantage in second chance points (8-7).
How It Happened:
Anderson jumped out to an early 19-14 lead following a Mack Burgett jumper, however, the Paladins would take control of the game when Marcus Foster scored eight points as a part of a 10-0 spurt for the Paladins that saw Furman take a 24-19 lead, and it would be one the Paladins would not relinquish the remainder of the evening.
Furman, which eventually took a 46-36 lead into the halftime locker room, would explode for a season-high 60 points in the second half, using a 13-4 run to start the second half and extend the lead to 19, at 59-40. Furman would end up increasing its lead to as much as 30 points before eventually settling for the 27-point win.
Furman will now have a 10-day break before beginning the second portion of the season–conference play–as the Paladins will open the conference slate at home against VMI on Dec. 29, with a 7 p.m. tip-off time slated for Timmons Arena.
Postgame Press Conference: