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Furman Stops UNCG To Claim Fifth Straight Win, 67-57

Matt Rafferty
Matt Rafferty

Greenville, S.C. -- Matt Rafferty posted a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds and Jordan Lyons poured in 22 points to guide Furman to its fifth consecutive win with a 67-57 triumph over UNCG in Southern Conference men's basketball action Thursday evening at Timmons Arena.

With its 15th victory in its last 16 contests at Timmons Arena, Furman, ranked No. 14 in the latest CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25, improved to 21-5 overall and 10-4 in league play. UNCG, ranked No. 3 in the CollegeInsider Top 25, dropped to 22-4 overall and 11-2 in the SoCon.

The Spartans led 42-36 with under 11:30 to play when Rafferty drained a three to ignite a 7-0 Furman run in which he scored all seven points, including a layup to give the Paladins a 43-42 lead with 10:04 to play.

Furman ended a stretch of five lead changes in under a minute with a key 9-0 spurt that gave head coach Bob Richey's team the lead for good. Trailing 46-45, Rafferty scored in the paint to put Furman ahead and Noah Gurley added to the lead with a point-blank shot following a steal from Alex Hunter. After getting a defensive stop, Furman grabbed three offensive rebounds on the other end of the floor before Rafferty's basket extended the lead to five. Francis Alonso missed a triple on UNCG's next possession and Jordan Lyons drained a three for the Paladins to put Furman ahead 54-46 with 5:07 to play.

UNCG trimmed the lead to four points at 59-55 with 2:15 left, but Rafferty and Hunter scored in the lane on Furman's nest two possessions before Hunter followed another defensive stop for the Paladins with two free throws to push the margin to 65-55 with under a minute remaining.

Furman's suffocating defense held the Spartans to just 35.5% shooting from the field, including a 26.1% effort from three-point range. The Paladins forced 17 turnovers, recorded 13 steals and blocked a season-high 10 shots, led by a career-high five from Gurley and four rejections from Clay Mounce.

Rafferty connected on 10-of-13 shots from the field and 5-of-6 trips to the charity stripe while also adding two assists and five steals to his game-highs of 26 points and 10 boards. Lyons hit 4-of-10 triples to account for his 22 points and Mounce finished with eight points and seven rebounds.

The Paladins made good on 43.1% of their field goal attempts and converted on 10-of-14 trips to the foul line.

Furman continues its four-game homestand on Saturday when it hosts the VMI Keydets in a 4:30 p.m. contest at Timmons Arena that will be streamed live on ESPN3. Tickets for Saturday's are still available and can be purchased at FurmanPaladins.com or at the Timmons Arena Box Office.

Fans can listen to the action on the Furman IMG Sports Network at FoxSports 1440AM, via StretchAudio at FurmanPaladins.com or by using the TuneIn Radio app.