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Second Half Surge Helps Liberty Past Furman, 66-52

Stephen Croone
Stephen Croone

Lynchburg, Va. -- Liberty rallied from a nine-point first half deficit to down Furman, 66-52, in non-conference men's basketball action on Monday night at the Vines Center in Lynchburg, Va.

The Flames (3-4) held Furman (1-4) to 33% shooting, outscored the Paladins 32-16 in the paint and managed a 42-32 rebounding edge to avenge last season's 86-83 loss in Greenville, S.C.

Trailing 30-26 after Furman's John Davis III opened the second half with a three-pointer, Liberty scored the next five points to take a 31-30 lead.  The lead changed hands seven times over the next six minutes before Davis put Furman in front 43-41 on a layup with 10:51 to play.

The Flames took control the rest of the way by reeling off a 17-2 run over the next 7:30 and holding Furman to just two made field goals over the final 10:50. Liberty outscored the Paladins 40-25 in the second half and limited Furman to just 2-for-14 from three-point range over the final 20 minutes.

David Andoh, who contributed eight points and seven rebounds in the second half, finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Flames.  Andrew Smith added 12 points, while Tomasz Gielo totaled 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Liberty shot 47% from the floor and converted on 12-of-18 trips to the foul line.

Furman used an 18-4 first half run to build a 23-14 first half lead.  After falling behind 10-5 in the early going, Furman caught fire beyond the arc as freshman Geoff Beans, playing his first collegiate game, connected on his first three treys to propel the Paladins.  With the game tied at 14-14, Kris Acox scored in the paint, Daniel Fowler drained a three and Stephen Croone stole the ball at the top of the key and finished with a dunk to give Furman a 21-14 lead with 8:51 left in the first half.  Fowler converted on a jumper with 7:34 left in the period to up the margin to nine before Liberty outscored the Paladins 12-4 to end the half.

Croone paced the Paladins with 13 points, eight rebounds and four steals in the loss.  Beans added nine points, while Fowler accounted for eight points and four assists.  After hitting five three-pointers in its first seven attempts, Furman went 3-for-24 from behind the arc the rest of the way.

The Paladins return home to open Southern Conference play against the Samford Bulldogs on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Timmons Arena following the Furman women's basketball team's 2 p.m. game versus Appalachian State.  

Furman will be sponsoring a holiday toy drive to benefit Think2xTwice.org who will then distribute the toys to Pendleton Place, Church of God Home for Children in Simpsonville and the Salvation Army Toys for Tots.  Paladin Basketball would like to thank its fans for helping in this endeavor by giving free admission to anyone who brings a new toy in its original package and unwrapped to the box office on game day.  The Timmons Arena Box Office will open at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 6.

Fans can listen to the Samford game on the Furman IMG Sports Network on flagship station WGOG 96.3 FM and Fox Sports 1440 AM with play-by-play voice Dan Scott and color commentator Ron Smith delivering the action.  The audio broadcast will also be available by logging onto Tunein.com  Live video will be available through the SoCon Digital Network.  Links for the broadcast and live statistics will be available at FurmanPaladins.com.


Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information