Furman’s 17 threes highlight win No. 20 at VMI

For the sixth time in the past seven seasons, Furman University’s men’s basketball team has now won 20 games, as the Paladins picked up what was a resounding 94-63 Southern Conference win over VMI Wednesday night at Cameron Hall. The win snapped what had been a two-game losing streak inside the facility, dating back to January of 2020, and marked Furman’s 13th win over VMI in the last 16 meetings.

It was the seventh-straight win overall for the Paladins, who improved 20-8 overall and 11-2 in Southern Conference play, remained tied atop the Southern Conference standings along with UNC Greensboro (11-2) and Samford (11-2). VMI dropped to 6-20 overall and 1-12 in Southern Conference action. The win also marked the Paladins sixth-straight road win, which marks the program’s longest conference road winning streak since the 1973-74 season.  The win also marked Furman’s 173rd overall and 99th Southern Conference victory since the start of the 2015-16 season. That is tied for the most in the SoCon in that span along with UNC Greensboro, who picked up wins 173 and 99, respectively, in its 91-65 win over East Tennessee State Tuesday night.

Furman was red-hot from the field for most of the night, connecting on 53.7% (36-of-67) of its shots from the field and making good on a season standard 17 three-point field goals en route to getting win No. 20 of the season. The Paladins had five players finish the contest in double figures, led by Alex Williams’ 18 points off the bench. Williams, who posted 15 points in the win over Wofford this Saturday, finished off the midweek win over the Keydets by connecting 7-of-9 shots from the field, including making good on 4-of-6 from three-point land. The 18-point effort in the win over the Keydets matches what was a career high in the first meeting with Wofford back in January, as the Paladins picked up what was a 96-82 win at the Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium, which is part of Furman’s current six-game road winning streak. In addition to his 18 points, Williams also added eight rebounds and dished out a pair of assists.

The Paladins also saw Mike Bothwell (14 pts, 3 rebs, 1 ast, 1 blk), JP Pegues (13 pts, 2 asts, 2 stls, 1 reb), Tyrese Hughey (12 pts, 1 reb, 1 stl) and Jalen Slawson (11 pts, 4 asts, 3 blks, 4 rebs) also finish in double figures. Carter Whitt scored eight points and added career and team-highs 10 assists off the bench. Whitt’s assists total was part of another remarkably efficient offensive night, which has become commonplace under sixth-year head coach Bob Richey, as the Paladins finished the game with 30 assists on 36 made field goals.

For Pegues, whose strong play over the past month has directly correlated with Furman playing its best basketball of the season,  it marked his eighth-straight double-figure scoring game. As for teammate Jalen Slawson—the Southern Conference’s reigning Player of the Week and the league’s Player of the Month for January—he posted his 12th-straight double-figure scoring effort despite foul trouble most of the night and only totaling 20 minutes of court action.

VMI finished the night by connecting on 36.1% (22-of-61) of its shots from the field, which included a 25.0% (5-of-20) shooting effort from three-point land. The Keydets finished with three in double figures, led by Taeshaud Jackson, who came off the bench to score a team-high 13 points. Jackson connected on 4-of-5 shots from the field and went 5-of-7 from the charity stripe. Jackson was joined in double figures by Asher Woods and Tyler Houser, who added 12 and 11 points, respectively, for the Keydets.

The Paladins finished the contest holding advantages in total assists (30-8), total rebounds (38-33), points in the paint (38-32), second-chance points (18-17), bench points (46-26), fast-break points (21-6), and points from turnovers (17-13).

How It Happened:

Furman broke open a close game early late in the opening half of play. With Furman leading 25-19 following a three-pointer by VMI’s Tyler Houser, the Paladins would answer with a Carter Whitt triple and that would end up sparking what would be a scoring onslaught to end the half, as the Paladins ended the half on a 29-4 run to take a 54-23 lead into the halftime locker room. Furman connecting on nine of its final 10 shots of the frame, and were buoyed by JP Pegues (6 pts) and Alex Williams (8 pts), as the duo combined for nearly half of the 29-point outburst to close the opening frame.

The Paladins increased their lead to as much as 36 in the early moments of the second half, as Marcus Foster converted a layup. The two-point bucket had seen Furman’s run balloon to 34-4 before VMI’s Asher Woods answered with a three on the next trip down the floor to finally stop the bleeding for the Keydets, at least momentarily. VMI would never get closer than 26 points the rest of the way, as the Paladins closed out what was one of their most impressive road wins of the season.

All told, it marked Furman’s seventh true road win of the season, which includes the sixth in SoCon play alone. It also marked the seventh time the Paladins have scored 90 or points in a game this season, having posted a 7-0 record when accomplishing that feat this season. The Paladins have held eight of their 13 SoCon foes to less than 70 points this season, including each of the last four. Furman is 8-0 in those games.

The Paladins return to the floor Saturday, hosting red-hot Western Carolina at Timmons Arena, with tip-off slated for 2 p.m. at Timmons Arena. The Catamounts, who were buoyed by a 47-point effort from sharp-shooting guard Tre Jackson to come away from Spartanburg with a 95-91 double-overtime win over Wofford Wednesday night to improve to 14-12 overall and 7-6 in league play, handed Furman one of its two Southern Conference losses, as Western Carolina snapped a 13-game series losing streak to the Paladins with a 79-67 win over the ‘Dins back on Dec. 31 at the Ramsey Center.

VMI will go in search of its second league win in a rare Friday night league tilt, traveling to East Tennessee State for a 7 p.m. tilt at Freedom Hall.

Published by soconjohn

I am a lover of all things SoCon, and I have had a passion to write about, follow and tell the world about this great conference for pretty much my entire life. While I do love the SoCon, and live in the SoCon city, which is home to the Furman Paladins, have a passion for sports in general, with college football and college hoops topping the list.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: