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Late Run Lifts UNCG Over Furman In SoCon Semis, 66-62

Late Run Lifts UNCG Over Furman In SoCon Semis, 66-62

Asheville, N.C. -- No. 2 seed UNCG erased a 58-53 Furman lead with a late 12-0 run as the Spartans topped the third-seeded Paladins, 66-62, in the semifinal round of the Ingles Southern Conference Men's Basketball Championship presented by General Shale Sunday evening at the U.S. Cellular Center.

With the victory, UNCG (28-5) advanced to face No. 1 seed Wofford in the SoCon Championship Game on Sunday at 7 p.m. on ESPN. Furman drops to 25-7 on the season and will wait until next week to find out its postseason fate.

After trailing 26-24 at intermission, Furman reeled off a 13-2 run to take a 37-28 advantage on Mike Bothwell's driving layup with 15:55 to play. The Paladins maintained at least a five point lead until a 6-0 Spartan run cut the Furman lead to 52-51 with 7:49 remaining, but Jordan Lyons and Alex Hunter answered with three-pointers to pushed the margin back to 58-53 with under five minutes to go.

Back-to-back triples from Kyrin Galloway and Francis Alonso put UNCG back in front and ignited a 12-0 spurt that gave the Spartans a 65-58 lead on Isaiah Miller's steal and breakaway dunk with 1:21 to play. The Spartans held Furman without a basket for more than 4:30 to extend the lead to seven before Matt Rafferty connected on two free throws and Clay Mounce scored on a putback with 9.8 seconds left. Miller hit 1-of-2 free throws following the inbounds pass to seal the Spartan win.

Alonso scored a game-high 19 points for UNCG, while Kaleb Hunter reached double figures with 10 points and James Dickey pulled down 15 rebounds to pace the Spartans to a 39-28 edge on the glass.

UNCG shot 41.4% from the field, made 8-of-19 three-point tries and converted on 10-of-15 trips to the foul line.

Rafferty led Furman with 17 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and three blocked shots. Lyons finished with 15 points on 3-of-8 shooting from three-point range.

The Paladins shot 47.1% from the field, hit 7-of-21 three-point tries and made good on 7-of-9 trips to the charity stripe.