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Saaka's 29 Points Help Paladins Rally Past Presbyterian, 68-64

Saaka's 29 Points Help Paladins Rally Past Presbyterian, 68-64

Nov. 17, 2009

 

Box Score

 Greenville, S.C. -- Junior Amu Saaka netted a game-high 29 points and Furman overcame a 13-point first half deficit to down Presbyterian College 68-64 before a crowd of 1,108 on Tuesday evening on Carolina First Court at Timmons Arena.

With the victory, Furman improved to 2-0 and recorded back-to-back wins to open the campaign for the first time since the 2006-07 season. Presbyterian fell to 0-2 on the year.

Saaka, who connected on 11-of-17 field goal attempts and 3-of-5 trips to the foul line to post a career-high 29 points, buried a three-pointer with 1:21 remaining to put the Paladins ahead 64-57. Khalid Mutakabbir answered with a layup to trim the margin to five points and the Blue Hose regained possession when Jordan Miller committed a player control foul with 49 seconds left.

Presbyterian’s Chase Holmes converted on a layup with 39 seconds to go and completed the three-point play at the foul line to bring PC within 64-62. Darryl Evans pushed the margin back to three for the Paladins by burying the back end of a two shot foul and Miller made good on 3-of-4 foul shots in the final 12 seconds to seal the victory.

The Blue Hose held Furman to just two field goals over the opening 9:19 of the first half and drained five three-pointers to fashion a 21-8 lead on Ryan Hargrave’s second straight trey at the 11:28 mark. Furman answered with back-to-back treys from Miller and Saaka to end the drought, and the Paladins cut the PC lead down to one point before entering intermission down 33-30.

The Paladins and Blue Hose traded the lead five times in the opening nine minutes of the second half before Furman built its largest lead of the night, 58-50, with 5:17 to play.

Miller made just 1-of-7 field goal attempts on the night, but converted 7-of-11 times at the charity stripe to join Saaka in double figures with 10 points. Saaka added a game-high eight rebounds while Miller totaled four rebounds and four assists. Evans chipped in with eight points and three assists for the Paladins who shot 40.0% (22-55) from the floor and 63.0% (17-27) at the foul line. Furman was 7-for-21 from three-point range.

Holmes tallied 19 points on 7-of-17 shooting from the floor to pace Presbyterian. Jake Troyli added 15 points and eight rebounds while Walt Allen totaled 10 points and six boards. The Blue Hose shot 46.2% (24-52) from field, including 8-of-16 from beyond the arc. PC was 8-for-9 at the foul line.

Presbyterian managed a 37-28 rebounding advantage, but were forced into 23 turnovers which Furman turned into 23 Paladin points.

Furman wraps up its three-game season opening homestand on Saturday when it hosts Ivy League member Dartmouth College on Carolina First Court at Timmons Arena. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.

Live statistical updates and play-by-play of all Furman home games are available for free through GameTracker at www.furmanpaladins.com. Paladin basketball can be heard live at WOLT-FM 103.3 and WGOG-FM 96.3 with Chuck Hussion handling play-by-play.