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Acox, Sibley Drive Furman Past Tennessee Tech, 68-62

Kris Acox
Kris Acox
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Cookeville, Tenn. -- Junior Devin Sibley hit five triples to lead all scorers with 21 points and senior Kris Acox added 17 points and 11 rebounds as Furman topped Tennessee Tech, 68-62, in non-conference men's basketball action on Monday night at the Eblen Center in Cookeville, Tenn.

With the victory, the Paladins improved to 7-5 on the season, clinched a winning record in the non-conference play and made head coach Niko Medved's club one of only 17 NCAA Division I teams to have recorded four true road wins so far this season. Tennessee Tech fell to 4-10 on the season.

Tennessee Tech scored the game's first seven points and led 23-13 with under nine minutes to play in the first half when  Acox ignited a Paladin rally with a two-handed jam off a pass from John Davis III.  Sibley scored 10 points over the final eight minutes as Furman used a 17-5 run to take a 30-28 lead into the halftime break.

The Paladins, who shot 46.8% and connected on 10-of-22 three-point attempts, continued the spurt in the second half. Furman outscored the Golden Eagles 19-5 over the opening 7:30 of the second period to push to margin to 49-33 and extend its run to 36-13 on Kris Acox's layup at the 12:39 mark.

The visitors increased their lead to as many as 17 points with 8:10 to play before Tennessee Tech put together a rally of its own. The Golden Eagles used a 9-0 run to trim the margin to eight points and pulled within six at 61-55 on Kajon Mack's three-point play with 4:03 remaining.

Furman pushed the lead back to eight points before a Mack basket and three-pointer from Hakeem Rogers sliced the lead to 65-62 with 39 seconds to play. Tennessee Tech forced a turnover with its press, but Rogers missed a trey and Matt Rafferty hit 1-of-2 free throws for the Paladins to up the lead to four points. Acox rebounded Aleksa Jugovic's missed triple on the next Golden Eagle possession and Daniel Fowler drained a pair of free throws with 10.9 seconds left for the final margin of victory.

Sibley hit 6-of-12 shots from the field, including 5-of-6 beyond the arc, to pace the Paladins, while Acox finished 8-of-12 from the field. Sibley added seven rebounds and three assists. Freshman Jordan Lyons came off of the bench to add 10 points on 2-of-3 shooting behind the arc and a 4-for-4 effort at the foul line.

Furman held the Golden Eagles to 38% shooting and allowed the home team to connect on just 6-of-25 three-point attempts. Rogers led TTU with 19 points, while Curtis Phillips scored 13. Mack totaled 11 points and Jugovic, the Golden Eagles' leading scorer, netted all 10 of his points in the second half.

The Paladins cap their pre-holiday road trip and conclude the non-conference schedule on Thursday versus the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor, Mich. Thursday's 7 p.m. contest will be shown live on the Big Ten Network and can be heard on Furman flagship station FoxSports 1440AM or via the TuneIn Radio App. Links are available at FurmanPaladins.com.



Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information