Greenville, S.C. – Furman reached the 18-win mark for the first time in 20 years and scored its first regular season sweep of Georgia Southern since 1997 with a 54-45 victory over the Eagles in Southern Conference men's basketball action on Thursday evening at Timmons Arena.
The Paladins, who boast a 10-1 record at home this season, improved to 18-7 overall and 10-4 in league play. Georgia Southern, which dropped its 12th straight game, fell to 4-22 overall and 0-13 in the SoCon. The win gave Furman its most victories since posting a 20-9 record during the 1990-91 season.
Furman, 26-24 leaders at intermission, held just a 43-40 advantage with under five minutes to play when Noah States' acrobatic tip-in on an Amu Saaka miss helped spark an 8-0 run that allowed Furman to pull away. Darryl Evans followed the tip-in with a free throw and Saaka drained a three-point basket before converting on a pair of trips to the charity stripe to give Furman its largest lead of the night at 51-40 with 1:40 remaining.
The Paladin defense paved the way for the victory holding Georgia Southern to a Furman opponent's season-low 32.7% (17-52) shooting from the field. Furman swatting five shots on the night and scored 11 points off of 15 Eagle turnovers.
Saaka tallied 14 points to lead three Paladins in double figures. Brandon Sebirumbi connected on 5-of-8 field goals to score 12 points and grab seven rebounds while Evans added 10 points. States contributed with six points, six rebounds and four assists.
Furman shot just 35.6% from the floor and only 16-of-23 at the foul line, but turned 13 offensive rebounds into 15 points.
Zuri James led Georgia Southern with 16 points, including a 4-of-12 effort from three-point range. Ben Drayton added nine points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Eagles.
Furman, now tied for second place with Wofford (10-4) in the SoCon South Division standings, host Davidson in the second half of a men's-women's doubleheader on Saturday at Timmons Arena. The Furman women's team hosts Western Carolina at 3:30 p.m. before the Paladins entertain the Wildcats live on CSS beginning at 6:07 p.m.
Tickets for Saturday's game are available at the Timmons Arena Box Office and online at www.FurmanPaladins.com. The All-Inclusive Ticket, "IT", costs $12 for a lower level reserved seat and $8 for an upper level general admission seat. The ticket entitles fans to unlimited trips to the Timmons Arena concession stands for hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and sodas.