Celebrating the outstanding careers of Jalen Slawson, Mike Bothwell and Rett Lister
The Day, Date and Time: Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023, 6 p.m. EST
The Game: East Tennessee State (10-18, 6-9 SoCon) at Furman (21-7, 12-3 SoCon)
The Location and Venue: Greenville, S.C./Timmons Arena (2,500)
The Coaches: ETSU–Desmond Oliver (25-35, 2nd yr)/Furman-Bob Richey (132-53, 6th yr)
The Series: ETSU leads 34-32/Furman won 70-56 in the previous meeting this season (Jan. 8, 2023)
Preview: Both Furman and East Tennessee State will be looking to recover from losses the last time out, with the Paladins getting a wakeup call in Charleston, as The Citadel was able to claim a 69-65 win over Furman in one of the biggest shockers of SoCon play this season. Meanwhile, East Tennessee State, which remains in a fight to stay out of Friday’s play-in game, dropped a 68-66 contest at Western Carolina, which marked the first time that the Bucs have been swept in the regular-season by the Catamounts since the 1984-85 campaign. Furman’s mid-week loss at The Citadel marked the Bulldogs’ first win over the Paladins since Feb.1, 2018. The win by The Citadel snapped what had been an eight-game winning streak by the Paladins. The Bucs come into the contest actually having played some of their best basketball on the road this season, having won almost as many games away from Freedom Hall this season as they have won on the home hardwood. In fact, the Bucs have just a 5-9 record on the home floor this season, while having posted a 4-8 record away from Freedom Hall this season.
A Look at the Historical Perspective of Sunday’s Game:
A win Sunday afternoon against the Bucs would mean the Paladins garnered the season sweep of the ETSU Bucs, and that’s something that hasn’t happened all that often in recent seasons, given the success and tradition of the ETSU basketball program. In fact, it would mark the first time since the 1986-87 season, as the Paladins claimed a 62-61 win in Johnson City, while posting an 81-69 victory downtown at the Memorial Auditorium that very same season. That 1986-87 campaign marked the second season in charge for head coach Butch Estes, as the Paladins would go on to finish out that campaign with a 17-12 record, which included a 10-6 record in Southern Conference action and that was good enough for a fourth-place in the SoCon. In that very same season, the Bucs were under the direction of Les Robinson at that time, and ETSU finished with just a 7-21 overall record and just a 3-13 mark in league play in that particular campaign. It was Robinson’s second season as the head coach, and it was a season in which the ETSU basketball program found itself on probation for violations committed during the Barry Dowd era during the 1983-84 campaign. ETSU’s 3-13 Southern Conference mark that season was tied for last place (9th) with Appalachian State. The Bucs will come to Greenville in search of what would be their first win at Timmons Arena since the 2017-18 season, when the Bucs captured a 62-61 win over the Paladins courtesy of a late Desonta Bradford runner in the lane. The Bucs and Paladins ended up playing three times that season, with Furman returning the favor with a 79-76 win in Johnson City, keyed by a four-point play with less than a minute left from star guard Devin Sibley. However, when the two met in the SoCon semifinals in Asheville at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center, the Bucs were able to end Furman’s NCAA Tournament hopes by claiming what was a 63-52 SoCon Tournament semifinal win. Furman is 9-10 against East Tennessee State since the Bucs since ETSU re-joined the SoCon prior to the 2014-15 season. All time, Furman holds a 18-10 in games played in Greenville.
Significant Moments in the Rivalry:
Feb. 11, 1991 Furman 104, #10 ETSU 93—Furman pulled one of its biggest basketball upsets when it downed the Keith Jennings-led Buccaneers, as Hal Henderson and Bruce Evans paced the Paladins to a big win at the Memorial Auditorium in Greenville.
Mar 15, 2011 ETSU 76, Furman 63—Meeting as non-conference member, the Atlantic Sun’s East Tennessee State Buccaneers posted a 76-63 win over SoCon member Furman in the opening round of the CollegeInsider.com (CIT) Tournament at the MHSA Athletic Complex. The Bucs were led by a career-high and tournament record 32-point performance from guard Mike Smith.
**Mar. 6, 2016 ETSU 84, Furman 76—ETSU got a team-high 22 points from Ge’Lawn Guyn, as the second-seeded Bucs moved on to the tournament championship game to face top-seeded Chattanooga for the Southern Conference championship, and Furman’s NCAA Tournament dreams ended one game short of playing in the title game for a second-straight season.
Jan. 18, 2018 ETSU 62, Furman 61—ETSU guard and eventual SoCon Player of the Year Desonta Bradford hit a floater in the lane with 4.5 seconds to play, as ETSU claimed a big Southern Conference road win with a 62-61 win at Timmons Arena.
Feb. 25, 2018 Furman 79, ETSU 76—Furman got a team-high 17 points from Devin Sibley, which included a key four-point play with just 1:25 remaining, as Furman was able to pull off a 79-76 win over the Bucs. The win was Furman’s first in Johnson City since 2005.
**Mar. 3, 2018 ETSU 63, Furman 52—ETSU held Furman to just 31.7% shooting from the field–its lowest field goal shooting percentage in a game since Dec. 22, 2015–and the Bucs were able to move on to the championship game of the Southern Conference Tournament against UNC Greensboro.
Dec. 29, 2018 ETSU 79, Furman 56—Fresh off a Top 25 ranking and its first loss of the 2018-19 season, Furman headed to East Tennessee State to play its second Southern Conference game of the season and found out how tough life would be in one of the strongest seasons in the history of the SoCon, as the Paladins were soundly defeated, 79-56, by head coach Steve Forbes Bucs. The Bucs shot a blistering 60% (30-of-50) from the field in the contest, while the nation’s top rebounding team did work on the glass, out-rebounding the Paladins 33-23 in the contest, and out-scoring Furman in the paint, 42-30. In the final 20 minutes of the game, ETSU shot 66.7% (16-of-24) from the field, exerting their inside dominance much of the way. Furman shot below 40% for the second time in as many games, connecting on just 20-of-54 from the field, which equated to just a 37.0%. Furman is just 14-of-53 from three the past two games, which converts to 26.4%. In the two losses to LSU and ETSU, Furman has been out-scored in the paint, 92-52, and has been been out-rebounded 73-45 by both the Bucs and Tigers.
Feb. 11, 2019 Furman 91, ETSU 61–Furman made a statement. Maybe a statement the Paladins have been trying to make since a 76-68 overtime win over defending national champion Villanova. Saturday afternoon at Timmons Arena, it was definitive, as the Paladins knocked off East Tennessee State, 91-61. It was the biggest win by the Paladins in series history. Both meetings during the 2018-19 season were blowouts on both sides, which has been an exception rather than the rule for the most part in the series.
Jan. 5, 2020 Furman 65, ETSU 56–Furman and East Tennessee State met in what was an early blockbuster matchup in mid-major basketball Saturday, and it was a matchup that saw Furman out-rebound the bigger Bucs, 41-28, using energy plays and outight winning the hustle stats en route to an important 65-56 win Saturday evening at Timmons Arena.
The Paladins were met by a Bucs team intent on showing that last season’s 30-point win by Furman was an aberration, and for the first 10 minutes of the game, a staunch defense was evidence of that mentality. ETSU was intense, taking Furman out of its motion offense, which is focused on hard cutting for much of the half. In many ways, it forced Bob Richey’s Paladins to find different, creative answers, while performing at a high level defensively, and that’s exactly what the Paladins did.
It was never going to be a night, which saw Jordan Lyons was going to approach 40 points like he did on New Year’s Day vs VMI, however, his performance in Saturday night’s win over the Bucs was no less important. Lyons led the Paladins with 14 points, as he led the Paladins with 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field, including going 4-for-8 from three-point land. It was another outstanding performance by the senior guard from Peachtree City, GA.
Feb. 19, 2020 ETSU 75, Furman 66–In what was one of the most anticipated mid-major basketball games of the season, Furman and East Tennessee State looked every bit the part of what their respective records would indicate, and at the end of the night, it was the preseason SoCon favorite that avenged an early-conference setback.
With first place up for grabs in the Southern Conference, East Tennessee State got 52 points from its backcourt to hold off Furman, 75-66, in a key Southern Conference tilt Wednesday nightie front of a record crowd of 6,177 fans on hand at Freedom Hall.
Jan. 17, 2021, Furman 78, ETSU66–Opportunities don’t come that often for mid-major programs like Furman and East Tennessee State, but when they do, and the game is before a national television audience, it’s important to take advantage of the moment. It’s not only a moment for the current players, but for all those that game before.
“Since we got back from Citadel, coach Richey was telling us this game wasn’t for us. This game was to show everybody watching us on ESPNU for the first time what our brand of basketball is about. This game was for Jordan Lyons, Matt Rafferty, Daniel Fowler and all those guys that came before us. I think we showed a great brand of Furman basketball,” Mike Bothwell said.
It was Bothwell who made the most of the opportunity, as he scored a career-high 32 points, and Furman moved into sole possession of first place in the Southern Conference, with a 78-66, win over East Tennessee State Saturday afternoon at Timmons Arena.
With the win, the Paladins improved to 10-3 overall and remained unbeaten in Southern Conference play, at 4-0, while ETSU dropped to 6-5 overall and 2-1 in league action following the loss. The win marked the 19th-straight at Timmons Arena, and was also the 70th in the facility since the start of the 2015-16 season, as Furman improved to 70-11 in the facility over that span. Additionally, it was also Furman’s 70th Southern Conference win since the start of that same season, which is second to only ETSU’s 73 league wins during that same span.
It was the typical intensity you get when the Paladins and Bucs meet on the college basketball hardwood, and for about 35 minutes on Saturday afternoon at Timmons Arena, neither team could find much separation from the other.
The game featured 11 ties and 16 lead changes before Furman was able create some cushion between it and the Bucs over the final 10 minutes. From that point, the Paladins never let ETSU take more than a three-point lead the rest of the way.
Jan. 23, 2021 ETSU 71, Furman 62–Damari Monsanto scored a game-high 22 points and East Tennessee State used a key 13-0 run midway through the second half, holding Furman scoreless from the field for almost nine minutes en route to a 71-62 Southern Conference win Saturday afternoon at Freedom Hall.
The last time that happened came during the 2018-19 season, as the Paladins dropped games at Wofford (L, 55-59) and UNC Greensboro (L, 79-89) in back-to-back games. The Paladins scored a season-low 62 points, and were held below 70 points for the first time all season, and it’s the Paladins’ lowest output in a game since Jan. 17, 2020, as Wofford limited the Paladins to just 52 points in a 66-52 nationally-televised game on ESPNU last season.
Monsanto finished the contest by connecting on 8-of-14 shots from the field, including knocking down six of ETSU’s 10 three-pointers, as he continued his hot shooting during the past week. He narrowly missed his second double-double this week, pulling down eight rebounds in the victory over the Paladins.
Jan. 12, 2022 Furman 78, ETSU 69–When the two teams headed to their respective locker rooms for halftime, Furman trailed the contest 39-35 against a talented East Tennessee State team, and graduate transfer guard Conley Garrison hadn’t scored nor had he even taken a shot.
By the time the buzzer sounded following a 78-69 win against East Tennessee State, the former Division II All-American from Drury University finished the final 20 minutes of basketball against ETSU with his best game as a Paladin.
That’s because Garrison finished off the second half by scoring 23 of Furman’s 43 second-half points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field and was 4-for-6 from three-point land to finish with a team-high 23 points. The 23-point effort by
Garrison was the best game has turned in scoring-wise as a Paladin, and his performance showed the Paladins have just one more weapon in Furman’s nine-point win over the Bucs saw the Paladins improve to 12-6 overall and 4-1 in league play, while ETSU fell to 10-8 overall and 2-3 in SoCon action. Furman’s win coupled with Chattanooga’s 70-59 loss at Western sees Furman move to the top of the conference in the win column by a half-game, as the Mocs fell to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in league play.
The Paladins improved to 8-9 against the Bucs since they returned to the SoCon in the 2014-15 season, including improving to 8-7 against ETSU in regular-season matchups. The win also saw the Paladins narrow the overall series to 33-31, and the Paladins moved to 7-1 against the Bucs at Timmons Arena since they re-joined the league.
Feb. 7, 2022 ETSU 75, Furman 71– East Tennessee State got a balanced scoring effort, as LeDarrius Brewer posted a double-double of 20 points and 10 boards to lead five Bucs in double figures, as the Bucs snapped their five-game losing streak with a 75-71 win over Furman in a heated Southern Conference basketball contest before a boisterous crowd of 4,305 fans on-hand at Freedom Hall.
With the win, ETSU improved to 13-13 on the season, including upping its mark to 5-8 in league play, while Furman fell for the second time in succession, as the Paladins now sit at 17-9 overall and 9-4 in league play. In combination with Chattanooga’s 74-72 overtime win at Mercer, the Paladins are now a game-and-a-half out of first-place, with a game in hand. Brewer was joined in double figures by his brother Ty Brewer (12 pts, 8 rebs), Jordan King (12 pts, 2 stls), Jaden Seymour (11 pts), and David Sloan (10 pts, 6 asts).
Furman also placed five in double figures, with both Jalen Slawson and Mike Bothwell leading the way with 15 points apiece, while Conley Garrison, who scored 22 second-half points in the first meeting, finished with 14. Marcus Foster added 10, while Garrett Hien came off the bench to provide yet another solid effort, matching Foster’s total with 10 points.
Tough at Timmons
The Paladins have been pretty tough to overcome at Timmons Arena since the start of the 2015-16 season, as the Paladins post a gaudy 95-16 record at the facility during that span. The Paladins are 6-1 against ETSU during that span on the home floor. Furman has posted a 12-2 mark at Timmons Arena so far this season, which includes a 6-1 mark against Southern Conference foes inside the friendly confines. The Paladins suffered one non-conference loss inside the facility, with High Point able to come to Greenville and post an 85-82 win over the Paladins, while in Southern Conference play, UNC Greensboro was able to come up with an 88-80 overtime win over the Paladins. The last time the Paladins took the Timmons Arena floor some eight days ago against Western Carolina, the Paladins claimed what was a 93-59 win over the Catamounts before a sellout crowd of 2,577 fans. Along with its 95-16 overall mark overall in the past eight seasons on the home hardwood, the Paladins have also posted an impressive mark of 54-8 against Southern Conference foes in that same span, which includes a 23-3 record against league foes in each of the past four seasons.
Last Time Out: Furman 69, The Citadel 65 (McAlister Field House/Charleston, S.C.)
Furman fell on the road for the first time since 2018 to The Citadel, falling 69-65 at McAlister Field House in what is likely the biggest upset in Southern Conference play so far this season. Stephen Clark ended up finishing the contest with 21 points, seven rebounds and blocked four of the Bulldogs’ total of eight shots in the game. The Paladins were led in the contest by Jalen Slawson, who ended up posting what was his 14th game in a row in double figures, finishing with a game-high 22 points to go with five rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a pair of steals. Slawson was joined in double figures for the Paladins by Garrett Hien, who posted 11 points and seven rebounds, while point guard JP Pegues added 10 points and five assists. The 65 points for the Paladins was the lowest point total scored by the Paladins in a Southern Conference game this season, and lowest since defeating Appalachian State, 65-61, on the road in non-conference play back in December. The Bulldogs were able to limit Furman leading scorer Mike Bothwell to just six points in the contest, marking just the second time this season the senior guard from Cleveland Heights, OH., has been held to less than double figures, with the other time coming against Anderson University.
Last Time Out for ETSU: Western Carolina 68, ETSU 66 (Liston B. Ramsey Center/Cullowhee, N.C.)
Despite mounting a furious rally to erase a 12-point Catamount lead with eight minutes left to just two, the Bucs could not connect on what would have been a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer, as Jamarius Hairston’s three-pointer from the corner was no good as time expired, allowing Western Carolina to garner its first regular-season sweep of ETSU on the college basketball hardwood for the first time since the 1984-85 campaign. It was the ninth setback by four points or less for ETSU this season. Jordan King led all scorers for in the game, scoring 23 points for ETSU, while dishing out six assists and recording three steals. Jalen Haynes posted the third double-double of his Bucs career, posting 12 points and 12 rebounds. DeAnthony Tipler rounded out the Bucs in double figures, as he added 12 points off the bench.
Last Meeting Between Furman and ETSU: Furman 70, ETSU 56 (Jan. 8, 2023/Freedom Hall/Johnson City, TN.)
For the first time since the 2017-18 season, Furman was able to pick up an early Southern Conference road win at East Tennessee State, downing the Bucs, 70-56, in Johnson City. urman’s defensive effort included holding the Bucs to 33.3% (20-of-60) shooting and just 14.3% (3-of-21) from three-point land. The 56 points, along with the shooting percentages from both the field and from three-point land are all season lows for a Furman opponent. For the second time in four league games this season, folks got to see some of Furman at its best, which was in direct correlation to some of Marcus Foster’s best as a Paladin. It wasn’t a perfect performance by any stretch, but it was Foster that created the separation point with just under three minutes to play in the opening half, as he scored nine-straight points on three-consecutive made three pointers to stretch the Paladin lead from six points (26-20) to 15 points (35-20) by the time he knocked down his third—straight triple with 1:28 remaining in the half. After a missed three from Jordan King, Ben VanderWal stretched Furman’s lead to 37-20 on a driving dunk in the lane, bringing Furman’s bench to its feet and the good energy that the Paladins maintained much of the night was thanks in large part to a bench that cheered in unison for their teammates a majority of the night. The Bucs were able to get a Jaden Seymour triple to close out the half, however, the damage was done, and the Paladins went to the half with a 37-23 lead after closing on an 11-3 run. Nine of Foster’s 18 points came in during that stretch. He would only score three in the second half to post his game total; however, the damage was done. In the second half, the Paladins would add to their lead even more substantially, using a pair of 14-2 runs to build upon its 37-23 halftime advantage. The Bucs scored the first field goal of the second half, cutting Furman’s lead to 12 following Justice Smith’s jumper in the paint. However, from that point forward, the Paladin defense would be stifling, as it held ETSU scoreless from the field for over eight minutes, allowing the Paladins to create an even greater advantage. With 9:32 remaining, the Paladins extended their lead to their largest margin of the afternoon following a pair of Mike Bothwell made free throws, making it a 56-34 game. ETSU would make an 11-2 run to cut the Paladin lead back to 13, at 58-45, following a pair of King made charity shots with 6:11 remaining. However, the Paladins would push the lead back to 20, following a 10-3 spurt, which was ignited by a J.P. Pegues three ball from the right elbow and a Garrett Hien layup in the paint to stake Furman’s lead back to 20, at 68-48, with 1:42 remaining. The Bucs would score eight of the game’s final 10 points, which was capped by a Justice Smith layup with eight seconds left for the final points of the contest.
Senior Night at Timmons Arena:
While Furman will have one more home game coming up against Mercer Wednesday night, it will celebrate Senior Night on Sunday against East Tennessee State. Furman will celebrate the career of three very special players prior to Sunday night’s tip-off with the Bucs, as Mike Bothwell, Jalen Slawson and Rett Lister will all be honored for their accomplishments during their Furman careers.
For both Bothwell and Slawson, they have put together five outstanding years of basketball in the Paladin Purple and White, with the two combining to score 3,272 points in their Paladin careers, while having both been a part of 109 wins. Slawson and Bothwell both had already decided to return prior to the heartbreaking loss to Chattanooga in the championship game last year, although it wasn’t announced officially until May. The loss and how it occurred in the title game to Chattanooga strengthened the resolve of both to return to the fold for the Paladins. With three more wins this season, the duo would surpass Alex Hunter (111 wins) for the most wins in Furman basketball history.
Slawson is playing like a Southern Conference Player of the Year frontrunner at the moment. He has a string of 14-straight double-figure scoring efforts and was the SoCon’s Player of the Month for the month of January, and followed that up by being the SoCon Player of the Week for the opening week of the month of February. Slawson is already the 2022 reigning Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, and currently ranks in the Top 10 in the Southern Conference in several distinct categories. In conference only stats this season, Slawson currently ranks third in the SoCon in scoring (16.5 PPG), sixth in rebounding average (7.1 RPG), fifth in field goal percentage (53.1%), tied for fourth in assists per game average (3.5 APG), tied for eight in free throw percentage (82.2%), second in blocked shots per game (25 blocks/1.7 RPG), sixth in steals per game (22/1.5 SPG), seventh in assist/turnover ratio (43/1.2), tied for seventh in offensive rebounds (2.1 ORPG), and tied for fifth in defensive rebounds (5.1 DRPG).
In addition to scoring double figures in 14-straight games this season, Slawson has totaled 25 out of 28 games in double figures for the Paladins this season, and has seven of his 17-career double-doubles this season. His seven double doubles this season rank third in the SoCon in 2022-23, trailing only Jake Stephens (14) of Chattanooga and Tyzhaun Claude (8) of Western Carolina. Slawson has six 20-point efforts this season, with his top performance of the season coming in the overtime win over Samford, as he posted 26 points and finished with 11 rebounds in the 91-84 win at Timmons Arena. Slawson recorded the only known triple-double in program history last season, as he did so against Winthrop last season when he posted 15 points, a career-best 12 assists and 10 rebounds in what was an 85-80 loss to Winthrop. Later in non-conference play, he posted a career-high 33 points in a thrilling overtime win over College of Charleston.
Slawson ranks as one of only three players in Furman basketball history with 1,000 points (1,390 pts/25th), 600 rebounds (781 rebs/11th), 200 assists (346/13th), and 100 blocks (172/3rd). Slawson joined former Paladin greats George Singleton and Jonathan Moore as the only Paladins to accomplish that feat. The Summerville, S.C., was named to the Karl Malone Watch List earlier this season, which recognizes the nation’s top power forwards. His 1,390 career points rank him fourth in the league in career active points scored, while his 781 career rebounds rank him second in that category, while his 172 blocks rank third in the SoCon in blocked shots. Slawson’s 185 career steals are the most in the SoCon among active players in the league, while his 346 assists rank third among active players.
Bothwell, meanwhile, has been one of the best scorers to ever grace the basketball hardwood in Furman’s rich hoops history. His 1,882-career points ranks him tops in the SoCon in career active points scored, while also ranking seventh in school history. Bothwell’s 82.4% career free throw shooting percentage ranks him second in career active free throw percentage. Bothwell also ranks among the career-active top five in the league in the following categories: steals (154/3rd), assists (358/1st) and three-pointers made (187/5th). Bothwell is a member of the Lou Henson Award Watch List, which is given to the top player in mid-major basketball.
Earlier this season, Bothwell recorded his top career game as a Paladin, which came in the penultimate game of non-conference play against Stephen F. Austin. He posted 36 on 12-of-14 shooting from the field and converted all 11 of his free throw attempts. Fittingly, it was Bothwell’s jumper with less than a second remaining, allowing the Paladins to pick up the all-important non-conference, 72-70, win over the Lumberjacks at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Bothwell scored Furman’s final 12 points of the game, and had 21 of the team’s 28 second-half points. The scoring performance eclipsed his previous career-high of 32 points against East Tennessee State, which he recorded during his junior season of 2020-21.
Rett Lister has been a major part of the Furman basketball senior class for his leadership and his overall contributions in practice during the week. Lister, who has aspirations of following in his father’s footsteps one day as being a college basketball coach, has contributed in a variety of ways to the team over the past four years. His contributions might not show up in the box score following each game, however, they are no less vital to Furman’s championship hopes in this his final season than either that of Slawson or Bothwell. His father Chad Lister is the head coach at nearby North Greenville University. Chad Lister was Furman head coach Bob Richey’s coach during his days as a college basketball player at North Greenville.
Paladin Success and versatility
Through 28 games this season, Furman is on pace to perhaps record a new school record for total wins in a season, which currently is 25. With three games in the regular-season, the Paladins have a possibility of getting to within one win before heading to Asheville for the 2023 Southern Conference Tournament.
The Paladins, who are 21-7 at the moment, however, at this point in the season a year ago, the Paladins were 18-10 at this juncture. It was mentioned above about the Paladins’ success as a program since the start of the 2015-16 season inside the friendly confines, however, the Paladins rank second to only UNC Greensboro in total wins (174) and Southern Conference wins (100). If Furman were to win the remainder of its Southern Conference games, it would tie the 2019-20 team for Southern Conference wins in a single season, which would be 15. The Paladins recorded 15 SoCon wins during that particular season, finishing just behind the 16-2 Bucs, who went on to win the Southern Conference Tournament in Asheville and went down as one of the top teams in SoCon hoops history, winning an impressive 30 games.
Furman has wins in the non-conference over Belmont (Missouri Valley), Stephen F. Austin (WAC), South Carolina (SEC), Winthrop (Big South), and Appalachian State (Sun Belt). The Paladins currently rank 12th nationally in points per game (82.2 PPG).
To give you an idea of just how versatile the Paladins have been this season, Furman has had seven different players establish new career highs and have had five different players score 20 or more points in a game this season.
A little more about the Bucs
ETSU has been a team hampered by injuries this season but could be close to 100% by the time the Southern Conference Tournament rolls around in a couple of weeks. The Bucs have a nice inside-outside combination of scoring threat and guard Jordan King (14.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG) and forward Jalen Haynes (14.4 PPG, 6.3 RPG), however, it’s the supplemental pieces that had second-year head coach Desmond Oliver most excited about his basketball team entering the season.
However, injuries have plagued Oliver’s lineup, with the most notable of those coming to forwards Brock Jancek (4.7 PPG, 2.9 RPG) and Josh Taylor (8.4 PPG, 5.4). Taylor suffered a wrist injury early in league play against Mercer but has been practicing with the team and is expected to make a return to the lineup for ETSU in the very near future. Jamarius Hairston (4.5 PPG, 2.5 RPG) has stepped up and been a solid of late, and Jaden Seymour (8.4 PPG, 7.2 RPG) has been able to build on a strong freshman campaign by following up with a solid sophomore season. Taylor did not play in the first meeting against Furman, as he was under concussion protocol.
The Bucs also welcomed back DeAnthony Tipler (11.1 PPG, 2.8 RPG) recently to the lineup and he’s been ETSU’s top three-point shooter this season. Supplementing Tipler and King in the ETSU backcourt this season have been both Justice Smith (7.6 PPG, 3.6 RPG) and Allen Strothers (3.7 PPG, 1.8 RPG).
Following a game which saw King held to six points and without a three-pointer for the first time in his Bucs career, which totaled 38 total games, in the first meeting against the Paladins, King went out and delivered one of the biggest wins best scoring performances in the SoCon this season, finishing with 42 points, which included making 11 three-pointers in a 96-74 win in Charleston.