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Florida Gulf Coast Squeaks Past Furman, 70-69

Stephen Croone
Stephen Croone

Head Coach Niko Medved Post-Game Comments

GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Brett Comer drained two free throws with 5.2 seconds remaining and Florida Gulf Coast survived a last second game winning shot attempt to claim a 70-69 win over Furman in men's college basketball action Friday evening at Timmons Arena.

Kenrec Ferrara's layup with 34 seconds to go gave Furman (2-1) a 69-68 lead, but on the ensuing possession Florida Gulf Coast (2-1) worked the ball around until Comer penetrated from the right wing and was fouled by Croone on the shot, setting up the game tying and game winning free throws.

After a timeout, Croone took a pass in the backcourt, crossed midcourt under pressure, and let fly with a 30 footer from the right wing that bounced off the left side of the rim as time expired.

Comer converted 6-of-14 field goal attempts, including a 3-pointer, and 8-of-9 free throws for a team high 21 points for the Eagles, who got 20 points from Bernard Thompson, 13 points from Jamail Jones, and 10 points and a game high nine rebounds from Chase Fieler.

Croone, a sophomore guard who tallied 30 points in Furman's 73-64 win over Gardner-Webb on Tuesday, tallied game high scoring honors with 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting.  Keith Belfield added 14 points and Kendrec Ferrara registered 12 points and seven boards.  William Gates rounded out the double figure scorers for Furman with 11 points.

The Paladins used a 12-5 run over the final four minutes of the first half to take a 38-31 lead into intermission.

That advantage didn't last long, however, as the Eagles opened the second half with an 8-0 spurt to go up, 39-38, following a Bernard Thompson's three-point play at the 17:35 mark.

Croone's personal 9-0 run featuring a 3-pointer and two three-point plays helped the Paladins go from a point down to a 56-48 lead with 12:21 to go.

The Paladins twice pushed the advantage to nine points — first on a Larry Wideman 3-pointer with 8:30 remaining and later following a steal and layup by Croone with just over six minutes left.

A Thompson layup and Comer's lone 3-pointer of the game, at the 4:12 mark, allowed Florida Gulf Coast to slice the Paladin margin to 63-59.

Furman led 67-63 with 2:35 to go before a Fieler layup and free throw and Jones layup with a minute showing on the clock put Florida Gulf Coast ahead 68-67 — its first advantage since the 13:41 mark.

Ferrara's layup gave the Paladins their final lead of the contest before Comer drained the game deciding free throws.

Furman shot 46.3 percent from the field (25-of-54) to Florida Gulf Coast's 39.4 percent (26-of-66), but the Eagles fashioned a 41-31 rebounding advantage, including a 19-8 margin on the offensive glass.  The Paladins committed 14 turnovers to eight for the Eagles.

Furman returns to action next Saturday when it takes on former Southern Conference member College of Charleston in Charleston in a 6:00 p.m. game.