Charleston, S.C. – Seniors Amu Saaka and Noah States combined to make 3-of-4 free throw attempts in the final 30 seconds as Furman held off The Citadel, 59-55, and snapped the Bulldogs four-game winning streak in Southern Conference men's basketball action on Thursday night at McAlister Fieldhouse.
Furman, which completed a regular season sweep of the Bulldogs, improved to 17-6 overall and 9-3 in SoCon play. The Citadel slipped to 9-14 overall and 5-6 in the league. The win marked Furman's eighth triumph away from Timmons Arena this season, the most since the 1986-87 campaign.
With the Bulldogs trailing 56-51, Cameron Wells drained a jumper from the top of the key with 1:56 left to pull The Citadel within three points. Bo Holston stripped the ball away from Saaka on the other end and Wells converted again to trim the margin to one point with 1:25 remaining.
After Wells missed on the Bulldogs' next possession, Saaka drew a two-shot foul and converted both attempts to up the Paladin lead to 58-55 with 29 seconds left. Austin Dahn missed on a 24-foot three-point attempt that would have tied the game and States managed to make 1-of-2 at the charity stripe with seven seconds to play to seal the victory after rebounding Dahn's miss.
States and Darryl Evans paced the Paladins with 12 points apiece while Brandon Sebirumbi and Saaka added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Saaka grabbed nine rebounds and States added eight boards. Jordan Miller, returning from illness after missing three games, added five points and five assists.
Furman shot just 39.6% from the floor, but the Paladins connected on 8 three-pointers and scored 14 points off of The Citadel's 10 turnovers. Furman matched a season-low with just eight turnovers.
Dahn and forward Mike Groselle each tallied 15 points for the Bulldogs while Wells added 10 points on 5-of-15 shooting. Groselle notched a double-double grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds.
The Citadel shot just 38% from the field and made only 5-of-26 three-point attempts. The Bulldogs used a 38-33 rebounding edge and 8-for-10 effort at the foul line to stay in the game.
Furman trailed by as many as eight points in the first half before a furious rally gave the Paladins a 30-28 lead at intermission. The Citadel tied the game twice early in the second half, but Furman pushed the lead back out to eight points on a 6-0 run keyed by back-to-back baskets by States.
Senior Justin Dehm, who scored five points, became the 39th player in Furman history to eclipse 1,00 career points when he buried a three-pointer midway through the second half.
The Paladins continue their Charleston road trip and battle for first place in the SoCon South Division on Saturday afternoon when they visit College of Charleston for a 4 p.m. game which will be televised live on CSS.
Paladin fans can follow all of the action versus the Cougars with the "Voice of the Paladins" Chuck Hussion on the Furman Sports Network at WGOG-FM 96.3 and WOLT-FM 103.3. Furman basketball can also be heard through Stretch Audio at www.furmanpaladins.com.