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Furman Basketball Rallies Past Columbia, 62-58

Richard Brown
Richard Brown

New York, N.Y. – Sophomore Richard Brown poured in a career-high 15 points and Bobby Austin added 13 to help Furman rally past Ivy League member Columbia University, 62-58, in men's basketball action on Monday evening at Levien Gym.

The come-from-behind victory improved the Paladins to 2-0 on the season while the Lions slipped to 0-2.

Furman faced a 46-40 deficit with under 7:30 remaining when junior Colin Reddick scored five straight points, including a three-point play with 6:40 remaining, to trim the margin to one point.  Following a Columbia free throw, Austin buried a jumper to tie the game at 47-47 with 5:42 left.  

After each team failed to score on their next three possessions, Cory Osetkowski made a layup with 3:10 remaining to put the Lions ahead 49-47.  Senior Brandon Sebirumbi answered for the Paladins on the ensuing possession with a 15-foot jumper to knot the game at 49-49 and ignite an 8-0 Paladin run.  Bryant Irwin buried a three-pointer on the next trip to give Furman its first lead at 2:09 and Austin drained a jumper to push the lead to 54-49 with 1:28 left.  The Paladins forced another Columbia turnover and Brown made good on a pair of trips to the foul line to cap the rally.

"It been tough battling injuries and watching from the sidelines," said Austin, who missed two and a half season due to injuries.  "It was an unbelievable feeling to help the guys pull through.  During the half coach told me to be more aggressive, and being aggressive and making a couple shots helped us get going."

Trailing 30-19 at the break, Furman outscored the Lions 43-28 in the second half by shooting 53.6% (15-28) from the floor and converting on 10-of-15 trips to the charity stripe.  The Paladins, who trailed 9-0 to start the game and did not score until the 14:14 mark of the first half, shot just 38.3% (23-60) from the field, but made 6-of-12 three-point attempts.

Columbia out-rebounded the Paladins 42-36, but Furman committed just 12 turnovers and recorded seven blocked shots in its first road contest of the season.  Sebirumbi grabbed seven boards to pace Furman while Brown dished out a team-high four assists.

Brian Barbour led the Lions with 16 points.  Noruwa Agho, who scored 16 points in Columbia's season-opening loss to nationally-ranked Connecticut, netted 12 points to go with four rebounds and five assists before leaving with an injury in the final minutes.  Blaise Staab added eight points and eight rebounds. 

The Paladins return home on Thursday to host Mercer as part of a doubleheader at Timmons Arena.  The Furman women's team faces Troy at 5 p.m. with the Paladins entertaining the Bears 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.

Fans fan follow live statistics and live audio of Thursday's game at  Live streaming of both games will be available through Stretch Internet.