Bowling Green, Ky. – Senior Bryson Barnes poured in a career-high 26 points and added 11 rebounds to propel Furman to a 76-63 victory over Western Kentucky before a crowd of 3,192 on Saturday evening at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green, Ky.
Barnes, playing in his first game after being ineligible during the first semester, connected on 6-of-9 field goal attempts and 11-of-14 chances at the foul line as the Paladins shot a season-high 51.2% from the field to claim their third consecutive win. The Atlanta, Ga., native buried all three of his three-point attempts and added two blocked shots in 27 minutes of action.
"Practice makes perfect is what coach harps on," said Barnes. "I just tried to treat practice like games during the first semester so I would be prepared to play with this moment came."
Furman (6-4) used an 11-1 run towards the end of the first half to turn a 20-18 lead into a 31-19 advantage before carrying a 31-21 margin into the locker room at halftime. Barnes, who scored seven of Furman's 11 points during the stretch, opened the run with a jumper with 5:17 left in the half and Charlie Reddick buried two free throws with 1:25 to play in the half to cap the spurt.
The Paladins led by as many as 15 points in the second half, but Western Kentucky (4-8) used a 10-2 run to trim the lead to 56-51 on Nigel Snipes' layup with 7:34 to play. Despite converting on just two field goal attempts over a stretch of almost eight minutes in the second half, Furman made 16-of-18 free throw attempts in the final seven minutes to pull away.
Furman made 27-of-34 free throw attempts on the night while the Hilltoppers connected on just 12-of-25 trips to the charity stripe.
Point guard Richard Brown and forward Brandon Sebirumbi joined Barnes in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Brown added seven assists and committed just one turnover in 38 minutes. The Paladins shot 7-of-11 from three-point range and out-rebounded Western Kentucky 36-32.
Derrick Gordon scored a team-high 12 points for the Hilltoppers while Jamal Crook and Kahlil McDonald contributed 11 points apiece. Furman limited the Hilltoppers to just 36.7% shooting from the floor, including 7-of-24 from three-point range.
The Paladins continue their four-game road trip on Tuesday evening when they travel to Clinton, S.C., to face the Presbyterian Blue Hose. Tip-off against PC is set for 7 p.m.