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Second Half Surge Propels Furman Past Samford, 83-73

John Davis III
John Davis III

Birmingham, Ala. -- John Davis III scored eight points during a 14-0 second half run and senior Kris Acox paced the Paladins with 19 points and 12 rebounds as Furman downed Samford, 83-73, to remain unbeaten in Southern Conference play on Thursday night at the Pete Hanna Center.

Trailing 62-57 with under 7:30 to play, Acox scored off of his own offensive rebound and Davis drained a three-pointer to tie the game at 62-62 on Furman's next possession. Matt Rafferty's offensive rebound and stick back put Furman in front and Acox finished with a two-handed jam on the next Paladin possession to up the margin to 66-62.

On the Paladins next trip down the floor, Davis followed an offensive board and timeout by connecting on a three-pointer from 27 feet out as the shot clock expired to extend the Furman lead to 69-62 with under four minutes left. Davis hit a floater in the lane to up the lead to 71-62 with 2:45 remaining and Furman hit all 10 of its free throw attempts over the final minute to seal its third straight win over Samford.

The Paladins (10-6, 3-0 SoCon), who ended the game on a 26-11 run, held Samford (11-5, 2-1 SoCon) without a basket for over five minutes during the deciding run after the Bulldogs had hit nine of their first 12 shots in the second half and used a 9-0 run to take the lead.

Acox hit 9-of-15 shots from the floor en route to notching his fourth double-double of the season. Despite foul trouble, junior Devin Sibley tallied 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting to become the 41st player in Paladin history to reach 1,000 career points, while Davis and Daniel Fowler netted 14 points apiece.

Furman shot 54.5% from the field, connected on 10-of-24 triples and made good on 13-of-15 trips to the foul line to record its best start in SoCon play since beginning the 1986-87 season at 4-0 against league competition. The Paladins fashioned a 32-17 rebounding edge and grabbed 10 offensive boards that led to 19 second chance points.

Wyatt Walker led Samford with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Christen Cunningham added 15 points and eight assists. Demetrius Denzel-Dyson and Josh Sharkey contributed 12 points apiece for the Bulldogs who shot 48.3% from the floor.

The Paladins ended the first half on a 12-2 run to take a 38-33 lead into intermission before Samford opened the second half on a 29-19 run to grab the 62-57 lead.

Furman continues its SoCon road trip with a 5 p.m. contest at Chattanooga on Saturday at the McKenzie Arena. Fans can watch Saturday's game on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. The radio broadcast will air on FOXSports 1440AM and will also be available around the world via the TuneIn Radio app.

The Paladin Club will host a "Paladin Watch Party" for Saturday's game beginning at 4 p.m. at American Burger Company in downtown Greenville, weather permitting.

Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information