Jan. 2, 2010
Greenville, S.C. - The Furman men's basketball team finished on a 15-2 run, including scoring the final nine points, to rally past NCAA Division II Erskine College 62-53 in the non-conference finale for the Paladins on Saturday afternoon on Carolina First Court at Timmons Arena.
Trailing by four points after Brandon Wright's three-pointer put the Flying Fleet ahead 51-47 with 5:21 left, Furman scored on its next five possessions to blow by Erskine and pull away. Justin Dehm and Bryson Barnes answered Wright's trey with back-to-back three-pointers to even the game at 53-53 with 4:11 remaining. Darryl Evans collected a loose ball off of an Erskine miss on the other end and raced end-to-end to convert the layup and put the Paladins ahead for good at 55-53. Jordan Miller and Amu Saaka each connected on a pair of free throws on the Paladins' next two possessions and Barnes capped the game with a three-point play in the paint to secure the win.
With its second straight victory, Furman improved to 7-6 on the season and concluded its non-conference slate with a 6-5 record. It marked the first time since 2006-07 that the Paladins finished the non-league schedule with a winning record. Erskine, playing its first game since December 12, fell to 2-4.
Miller, a native of Memphis, Tenn., led the way for Furman with 18 points on 5-of-15 shooting from the field and 5-of-14 shooting beyond the arc. The junior added three assists, two steals and two rebounds without committing a turnover. Saaka contributed 15 points, five boards and four assists while Dehm reached double figures with 10 points to go with four assists.
The Paladins shot 40.4% (19-47) from the floor, including 44.4% (8-18) in the second half. Furman connected on 11 of a season-high 30 three-point attempts and made five of its 11 second half shots from long range. The Paladins, 13-of-16 from the foul line, got a game-high six rebounds from Noah States. Furman committed a season-low five turnovers on the night.
Wright, a senior from Goose Creek, S.C., led all scorers with 20 points on 6-of-15 shooting from three-point range. Marko Latinovic joined Wright as the only Erskine players in double figures with 12 points.
The Flying Fleet shot 40.7% (22-54) from the floor and 8-of-24 from three-point range, but was just 1-of-4 at the charity stripe. Erskine held a 34-28 rebounding edge.
After Furman scored the opening bucket, Erskine reeled off 11 straight points and led by as many as 10 points at 14-4 before the Paladins rallied to grab a 30-29 advantage at intermission.
The lead changed hands five times in the second half before Furman grabbed the advantage for good on Evans' layup with 3:24 left and held the Flying Fleet scoreless the rest of the way.
Furman returns to Southern Conference play beginning on Thursday when it travels to face Elon at 6 p.m. at Alumni Gym. The Paladins close their trip to North Carolina with a January 9, contest at UNC Greensboro.
Live statistical updates and play-by-play of all Furman home games are available for free through GameTracker at www.furmanpaladins.com. Furman Paladins basketball can be heard live at WOLT-FM 103.3 and WGOG-FM 96.3.