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Sibley Helps Furman Rally To Victory Over UNCG, 71-64

Greenville, S.C. -- Freshman Devin Sibley poured in a career-high 21 points, all in the second half, to rally Furman from a 14-point deficit as the Paladins downed UNCG, 71-64, in Southern Conference men's basketball action on Thursday night at Timmons Arena.

The win, Furman's third straight at home, improved the Paladins to 4-10 overall and 2-2 in the SoCon, while the Spartans slipped to 5-12 overall and 1-3 in the league.

With UNCG leading 47-33 and under 14:30 remaining, Sibley put the Paladins on his back during a crucial second half run.  The Knoxville, Tenn., native opened a 22-8 spurt with a three-pointer and scored 13 points during the rally, capped by a wild driving layup to tie the game at 55-55 with 6:48 to play.

UNCG regained a two-point lead on RJ White's layup before Sibley drained a pair of free throws with 5:05 left to even the game once again.  The Spartans' Tevon Saddler missed two shots on UNCG's next possession and picked up a technical foul following Kris Acox's defensive rebound.  Geoff Beans sank both foul shots and Stephen Croone buried a three-pointer from the right wing to stake Furman to a 62-57 lead with 4:09 remaining on the five-point possession.

"I'm just really glad we pulled out this win, and we came back from 14 down even though were frustrated early," said Sibley.  "We came together as a team and showed what we were capable of on the court."

The Paladins defense, which held the Spartans to 32.4% shooting in the second half, limited UNCG to just two field goals over the final 5:30 and Furman made 7-of-8 free throw attempts in the final two minutes to secure the victory.

Sibley connected on 5-of-9 shots from the floor and 9-of-13 free throws to net his career-high 21 points.  Beans scored 15 points on the strength of a 7-for-8 effort at the foul line, while Acox posted a double-double with 11 points and career-best 13 rebounds.  Croone, who has scored in double figures in 41 of his last 43 games added 10 points and five assists.

The Paladins shot 42.6%, including 52.4% in the second half, and converted on 24-of-32 trips to the charity stripe.

UNCG shot 55.6% in the first half to race out to a 34-25 lead at intermission and started the second period on a 7-2 run to up the margin to 14 points with over 17:30 to play.  After hitting four of their first five second half shots, however, the Spartans made just eight of their final 32 attempts to shoot 42.2% for the game.

Kayel Locke led UNCG with 16 points on 8-of-18 shooting and Saddler added 14 points and a team-best nine rebounds.  White rounded out UNCG's double figure scorers with 11 points.

Furman caps its short homestand on Saturday when it hosts league newcomer VMI as part of a men's and women's doubleheader at 4 p.m.  Saturday's games will be streamed live on the SoCon Digital Network and can be heard 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.  The audio broadcast will also be available by logging onto TuneIn.com.  Links for the broadcast and live statistics will be available at FurmanPaladins.com.

The IT Ticket will be in effect for the doubleheader with all fans in attendance receiving free and unlimited trips to the concession stand for hot dogs, nachos, sodas and more.

Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information