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Furman Tops Samford In SoCon Tournament Opening Round, 75-66

Bobby Austin
Bobby Austin

Asheville, N.C. – Bobby Austin and Charlie Reddick scored 15 points apiece to lead Furman to a 75-66 victory over Samford in the opening round of the Southern Conference Men's Basketball Championship on Friday night at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, N.C.

The Paladins, who improved to 15-15 on the season and avenged a loss suffered in their only regular season meeting against Samford, advanced to face top-seed Davidson in Saturday night's quarterfinals.  Tip-off at the U.S. Cellular Center is slated for 6 p.m.

Furman limited the Bulldogs to just 2-of-20 shooting from three-point range and out-rebounded the SoCon North Division's No. 4 seed 42-24 en route to eliminating Samford from the SoCon Tournament for the second straight year.

The Paladins scored the final five points of the first half to carry a 39-33 lead into intermission and began the second half with seven straight points to open up a 46-33 advantage with 17:34 to play.  Samford trimmed the margin to seven , 57-50, with 10:41 remaining, but Bobby Austin converted on three consecutive free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt and Bryant Irwin and Brandon Sebirumbi each scored on the paint to push the lead to 64-50 with 8:21 left.

Samford used a 14-4 spurt over the next seven minutes to pull within 68-64, but the Paladins managed to connect on 7-of-10 free throw attempts in the final 1:02 to hold off the Bulldog rally.

Reddick connected on 3-of-6 three-point attempts and 6-of-6 free throws to tally 15 points and seven rebounds.  Austin made 4-of-9 field goal attempts to net 15 points while Sebirumbi added 12 points and seven rebounds.  

Furman shot 42.9% from the floor and made just 8-of-28 three-pointers, but outscored the Bulldogs by 18 points behind the arc.  The Paladins converted on 19-of-25 trips to the foul line and turned 17 offensive rebounds into 17 second chance points.

Drew Windler led Samford with 21 points while Tyler Hood and Raijon Kelly netted 13 and 10, respectively.

The Bulldogs (11-19) shot 48.2% from the floor, but only 10% from long range and made just 10-of-17 attempts from the charity stripe.

Furman fans can follow all the action of Saturday's quarterfinal round contest versus Davidson on the radio with play-by-play voice Dan Scott and Chuck Hussion on WOLT-FM 103.3, WGOG-FM 96.3 and through Stretch Audio at www.FurmanPaladins.com.