Boone, N.C. – Appalachian State built an 18-point first half lead and held off Furman in the final minutes to claim a 72-66 victory over the Paladins in Southern Conference men's basketball action Monday evening at the Holmes Convocation Center in Boone, N.C.
The loss dropped Furman to 6-17 overall and 3-9 in SoCon play while Appalachian State improved to 11-13 overall and 7-6 in the league.
The Mountaineers, who led wire to wire en route to their third straight victory over the Paladins, fashioned a 34-16 first half lead when Mike Neal poured in six points during a 12-0 run. Furman answered with a 12-0 run of its own, capped by three-pointers from Bobby Austin and Kendrec Ferrara, to close the deficit to 34-28 at intermission.
The Paladins, who trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half, faced a 61-54 deficit with under six minutes remaining when freshman Stephen Croone drained two free throws and drove to the basket for a layup to pull Furman within three at 61-58 with 5:05 to play. Appalachian State's Nathan Healy and Furman's Larry Wideman traded a pair of free throws before Jamaal Trice converted on 1-of-2 trips to the foul line for the Mountaineers to increase their lead to 64-60 with 2:36 to play.
Wideman, a freshman from Loris, S.C., buried a trey from the corner to cut the lead to 64-63 with 1:31 to go, but Appalachian's Jay Canty converted on a three-point play to push the lead back to four points and the Mountaineers made 5-of-6 free throw attempts in the final 29 seconds to hold off the Paladins.
Appalachian State shot 47.1% from the field, made 5-of-11 three-point attempts and converted on 19-of-25 trips to the charity stripe. Nathan Healy, Michael Obacha, Mike Neal and Canty tallied 14 points apiece. Healy notched a double-double by adding 12 rebounds to pace the Mountaineers to a 35-31 edge on the glass.
Croone hit 5-of-10 shots from the floor and 10-of-13 attempts at the foul line to net a career-best 20 points for Furman. Wideman added 11 points on 3-for-5 shooting beyond the arc while Ferrara and Austin scored 10 points apiece.
Furman shot 43.1% from the floor and 40% (6-15) from three-point range. The loss dropped the Paladins to 0-17 this season when shooting 40% or less from behind the arc.
The Paladins continue SoCon play on Thursday when they travel to face the Chattanooga Mocs. Tip-off at McKenzie Arena is set for 7 p.m.
Thursday's game will be aired live on 103.3 WOLT-FM and 96.3 WGOG-FM with Dan Scott providing play-by-play and Jordan Caskey handling color commentator duties.
Fans can follow live statistics of the game and listen to the live steaming broadcast thru Stretch Audio by logging onto www.FurmanPaladins.com.