Greenville, S.C. -- Sophomore Daniel Fowler scored on a putback off of a missed layup as time expired to lift the Furman Paladins to a 58-57 victory over the University of Louisiana Monroe in the opening round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) on Tuesday evening at Timmons Arena.
The victory, Furman's 11th straight at Timmons Arena, established a new single season school record for home wins as the Paladins improved to 14-1 on their home floor.
Trailing 57-47 with under two minutes remaining, Fowler opened Furman's decisive run with a three-pointer. After a stop on the defensive end, Kris Acox followed a Stephen Croone miss with an offensive rebound and stick back to trim the deficit to 57-52 with 1:08 to play. Croone stole the Warhawks' inbounds pass and converted to pull Furman within three points, and Fowler forced a jump ball moments later to give the Paladins possession with 45 seconds to go.
Devin Sibley drove to the basket on Furman's next possession and Acox was in the right spot once again to put back a miss and cut the margin to 57-56. ULM ran down the clock on its final possession before 6-foot-10 Majok Deng missed from the right wing with 19 seconds to go and Acox rebounded for Furman. With less than eight seconds remaining, Croone penetrated down the left side of the lane and missed a reverse layup that was deflected to Fowler, who caught and buried the winning shot from the middle of the lane as time expired to set off a wild celebration at Timmons Arena.
With the victory Furman upped its record to 19-15 and advanced to play in the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament this weekend versus an opponent to be determined at a site yet to be determined.
Sibley paced the Paladins with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting, while Acox and Fowler added 11 points apiece. Acox grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and Fowler contributed five steals.
ULM (20-14) shot 50% from the floor in the first half and took advantage of 14 first period turnovers by the Paladins to build a 29-16 lead. Furman ended the period on 7-0 run to cut the margin to 29-23 at the break and extended its run to 15-2 when Sibley tied the contest at 31-31 with 14:42 to play.
The Paladins grabbed a 41-38 lead on Sibley's foul shot with 9:10 left, but ULM reeled off a 19-6 run to lead by 10 with 2:08 to go prior to Furman's 11-0 game-ending run.
Furman shot 41.8% from the field and overcame 23 turnovers by outscoring the Warhawks 32-20 in the paint, 14-6 off second chance opportunities and by fashioning a 40-28 rebounding advantage.
Justin Roberson led ULM with a game-high 23 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Deng, the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, added 12 points and seven rebounds. ULM shot 39.6%, including just 10-for-31 from the field in the second half.
The win marked Furman's second ever postseason victory with its previous triumph coming over South Carolina, 75-67, in the opening round of the 1974 NCAA Tournament.
Stay tuned to FurmanPaladins.com and @FurmanPaladins for information this week on Furman's second round opponent and game site.