Greenville, S.C. – Chattanooga turned 23 offensive rebounds into 17 second chance points en route to a 72-63 victory over Furman in the Southern Conference men's basketball opener for both schools Saturday on YP Court at Timmons Arena.
Senior Z. Mason led four Mocs in double figures with 20 points, 13 rebounds and six of Chattanooga's nine blocked shots on the afternoon while Casey Jones delivered 13 points, 13 boards and eight assists. Ronrico White and Gee McGhee rounded out the double digit scorers with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
The Mocs, who posted a 46-37 edge on the glass, led by five at 53-48 with 7:30 remaining in the game when Martynas Bareika converted a layup to ignite an 8-0 run. After Casey Jones knocked down a jumper, Mason and McGhee scored on offensive rebounds to give Chattanooga a 61-48 lead with 5:09 to play.
Furman trimmed the margin to eight with a minute to play, but White stepped up to drain four straight free throws to hold off the Paladins as Chattanooga moved to 7-8 overall and 1-0 in the SoCon. The Paladins slipped to 6-8 overall and 0-1 in league play.
Sophomore Stephen Croone led Furman with 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting and forward Kendrec Ferrara added 13 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots. Larry Wideman reached double figures with 10 points while senior Charlie Reddick grabbed a team-high nine boards.
After trailing 28-21 late in the first half, Furman closed the period on an 8-2 run, but the Paladins failed to score on their final five possessions of the half as the Mocs carried a 30-29 lead into intermission.
Wideman knotted the game at 32-32 on a trey in the opening minutes of the second half before a Mason put back started a 12-2 Chattanooga spurt that gave the Mocs the lead for good.
Chattanooga shot just 38.2% from the field, but made 14-of-22 free throw attempts and outscored Furman 17-8 on second chance opportunities. The Paladins shot 43.9% from the field and 10-of-14 at the charity stripe.
Furman continues its stretch of four games in eight days when it travels to the Greensboro Coliseum to face the UNCG Spartans on Monday at 7 p.m. The game can be heard live on WGOG FM 96.3, Fox Sports 1440 AM and through StretchAudio at www.FurmanPaladins.com. The school's official internet site will also provide live stats. Fans can access live in-game updates on Twitter by following @FurmanHoops.