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Croone, Beans Propel Paladins Past Samford, 74-64

Stephen Croone
Stephen Croone

Greenville, S.C. -- Junior Stephen Croone poured in 33 points and freshman Geoff Beans added a career-high 21 points to lead Furman to a 74-64 victory over Samford in the Southern Conference opener for the Paladins on Saturday night at Timmons Arena.

The win improved Furman to 2-4 overall and 1-0 in the SoCon, while Samford dropped to 3-7 overall and 0-2 in league play.

Croone connected on 8-of-14 field goal attempts and 14-of-19 trips to the foul line to reach double figures for the 25th consecutive game.  The Covington, Ga., native added six rebounds, five steals and two assists.  Beans, playing in just his second collegiate game, came off of the bench to hit 5-of-10 shots and convert on all eight of his free throw attempts in 23 minutes of action.  Freshman Daniel Fowler added 11 points and a career-best 10 rebounds for his first career double-double.

Samford scored the game's first six points, bur Croone netted 14 in the first period to help Furman rally to take a 28-25 lead at intermission.

Furman opened the second half on a 12-2 run to open up a 40-27 margin as Croone buried back-to-back treys to begin the second half, and Beans capped the spurt with a pair of free throws at the 16:10 mark.  The Paladins pushed the lead to 14 points before Brandon Roberts scored eight points to key a 13-2 Samford run that trimmed the Furman lead to 46-43 with 10:40 to play.

With Furman leading by three points and under 10 minutes remaining, Croone drew a foul while shooting a three-pointer and buried all three free throw attempts.  The Paladins did not allow the Bulldogs to climb any closer than five points the rest of the way as Furman hit 17 of its final 21 free throws to seal the win.

Furman shot 43.2% for the game and made 7-of-17 three-point attempts.  The Paladins connected on just 58% of their free throw attempts, but Furman's 50 trips to the foul line were its most in more than a decade.  Kris Acox matched a career-high with 10 rebounds to help Furman to a 45-35 edge on the boards, and the Paladins held Samford to just 35.6% shooting from the floor.

Darius Jones-Gibson paced the Bulldogs with 15 points, while Roberts and Jamal Shabazz added 11 and 10, respectively.

Furman returns to action on Tuesday night when it treks to Fort Worth, Texas, to face undefeated TCU (8-0) at 8 p.m. ET.

Fans can listen to the TCU 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 ESPN3.  Links for the broadcast and live statistics will be available at FurmanPaladins.com.


Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information