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Saaka's 34 Not Enough As Davidson Holds Off Furman, 86-81

Saaka's 34 Not Enough As Davidson Holds Off Furman, 86-81

Jan. 13, 2010

Box Score

Greenville, S.C. - Senior Will Archambault led four Davidson players in double figures with 15 points as the Wildcats held off a furious second half rally by Furman to claim an 86-81 victory over the Paladins in Southern Conference men's basketball action before a crowd of 2,108 on Wednesday evening on Carolina First Court at Timmons Arena.

Davidson improved to 8-9 overall and 3-2 in the SoCon while Furman slipped to 8-8 overall and 2-3 in league play.

Junior Amu Saaka poured in a career-high 34 points for the Paladins, including 28 in the second half, to help Furman erase a 16-point deficit, but Archambault finished with a dunk on a fast break and drained two free throws with 5.5 seconds left after rebounding a Bryant Barr miss from the foul line to secure the victory for the Wildcats.

Trailing 78-67 with 1:22 left, Saaka drained back-to-back treys to pull Furman to within five points with 57 seconds to play. After Davidson's Brendan McKillop and Saaka each went 1-for-2 at the foul line, Kuhlman converted two free throws to put the Wildcats ahead 81-74 with 45 second remaining. Furman's Darryl Evans answered by driving the length of the floor for a layup and completed the three-point play at the foul line to cut the margin back to 81-77 with 39 seconds to go.

Kuhlman made 1-of-2 free throw attempts once again on the other end, but Saaka buried a three-pointer six seconds later to pull Furman within two points with 23 seconds left. The Wildcats broke the Paladins pressure and Archambault finished with a dunk to increase the lead to four points before Evans responded with a free throw on the other end. With Davidson leading 84-81 and eight seconds to play, Bryant Barr missed both free throws, but Archambault claimed the offensive rebound and drained two shots from the charity stripe to put the game away.

After leading 39-35 at intermission, Davidson opened the second half on a 22-11 spurt to fashion a 15-point advantage at 61-46 with 11:54 remaining in the game. The Wildcats extended their cushion to 68-52 with 6:40 left before Furman reeled off a 28-14 run to trim the margin to 82-80 on Saaka's three-pointer with under 30 seconds left.

Kuhlman added 14 points for the Wildcats while Steve Rossiter and freshman Jake Cohen scored 13 and 11, respectively. Davidson shot just 41.4% (24-58) from the field, but made 10-of-24 three-point attempts and converted on 28-of-44 trips to the foul line. Davidson also held a 37-29 edge in rebounding, including a 16-6 advantage on the offensive glass.

Saaka hit 12-16 field goal attempts, including 4-of-5 beyond the arc, to become the first Paladins to score 34 points in a game since Moussa Diagne accomplished the feat in a loss to the College of Charleston during the 2006-07 season. Jordan Miller and Evans added 11 points apiece while Bryson Barnes came off of the bench to score 10 points. Saaka paced the Paladins with nine rebounds.

Furman shot 51.1% (24-47) from the floor. The Paladins were 7-of-14 from three-point range and connected on 26-of-36 free throw attempts.

Davidson returns to action when it travels to Wofford on Saturday. Furman hosts the Georgia Southern Eagles on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Live statistical updates and play-by-play of all Furman home games are available for free through GameTracker at Furman Paladins basketball can be heard live at WOLT-FM 103.3 and WGOG-FM 96.3.