Greenville, S.C. -- Sophomore Larry Wideman scored a career-high 25 points, including 18 in the second half, to lead Furman to a 66-49 victory over NCAA Division III Sewanee in the Paladins' season opener Friday night on YP Court at Timmons Arena.
The Paladins overcame a slow start by shooting 46.4% from the field in the second half and outscored the Tigers by 13 points at the foul line to open the head coach Niko Medved era with a victory.
Wideman, a native of Loris, S.C., connected on 7-of-15 shots, including 3-of-6 from behind the arc, and made good on 8-of-10 trips to the charity stripe to propel the Paladins to their 35th consecutive victory over a non-NCAA Division I opponent. Fellow sophomore Stephen Croone added 10 points, seven boards and four steals while directing a Furman offense that committed just 10 turnovers on the night.
Furman trailed early but held Sewanee without a field goal over the final seven minutes of the first half while using a 10-2 run to turn a 19-15 deficit into a 25-21 lead at the break.
The Tigers trimmed the Paladin lead to a pair on three occasions in the opening minutes of the second half before Furman used a 19-0 run to put the game out of reach. Wideman ignited the run with a tip-in off of his own miss and followed with back-to-back treys to up the margin to 37-27 with 15:18 to play. Croone drained a pair of free throws and Wideman knocked down another jump shot before Croone stole the ball at the top of the key and finished on the other end with a reverse jam.
Kris Acox claimed Furman's second straight steal to set up another Wideman three-pointer and Kendrec Ferrara capped the outburst with an offensive rebound and stick back to give the Paladins a 48-27 cushion with 11:48 to play.
After shooting just 25.9% in the first half, Furman connected on 13-of-28 second half shots to finish at 36.4% for the night. The Paladins managed a commanding 46-29 rebounding edge, outscored Sewanee 24-8 in the paint and 18-5 in points off turnovers. Furman made 21-of-28 free throw attempts while the Tigers made just 8-of-11 at the foul line.
Jorden Williams paced the Tigers with 17 points and Keshonn Carter added 12 points and eight rebounds.
Furman continues its season-opening homestand on Tuesday night when it hosts Big South Conference member Gardner-Webb at Timmons Arena. Tip-off is slated for 7:30 p.m.