Greenville, S.C. – The undefeated Furman men's basketball team made history on Monday when it earned the school's first national ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll, appearing at No. 25.
The Paladins, 8-0 on the season following a double overtime victory over Western Carolina in the Southern Conference opener on Saturday at Timmons Arena, had received votes in the AP poll in each of the past two weeks after stunning No. 8 Villanova, 76-68, in overtime on November 17. The victory over the reigning national champion Wildcats capped a nine-day stretch that also included a 60-58 victory at 2018 Final Four participant Loyola Chicago on November 9, and a 54-point performance by junior Jordan Lyons on November 15.
Furman's first appearance in the Associated Press Top 25 marked the first time a SoCon school has been ranked in the poll since Davidson held the No. 22 spot on December 15, 2008.
The 25th-ranked Paladins return to action on Tuesday when they visit former SoCon foe Elon for a 7 p.m. tip-off at the Schar Center in Elon, N.C. Tuesday's contest marks the 17th all-time meeting between the schools with the Phoenix holding an 11-5 series lead. Furman claimed a 76-67 victory in the last meeting on November 14, 2017, at Timmons Arena behind 23 points from Devin Sibley and 20 from John Davis III.
Furman enters the week as one of only 11 unbeaten teams in NCAA Division I basketball. Last Saturday's 90-88 triumph over Western Carolina gave the Paladins 15 wins in their last 16 games dating back to last season and marked their 14th consecutive regular season victory, the most by a Paladin squad in over 80 years. Lyons, who has averaged 21.1 points per game this season, poured in a game-high 29 points in Saturday's victory, while senior Matt Rafferty totaled 21 points, 15 rebounds and blocked four shots. Rafferty has contributed 18.8 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game through the Paladins' first eight contests.
Clay Mounce posted 17 points and 13 rebounds, and fellow sophomore Alex Hunter finished with 11 points and 10 assists to join Rafferty in giving Furman three players with double-doubles in the same game for the first time since a 77-73 overtime win versus Villanova in December of 1989.
Following Tuesday's game at Elon, Furman visits USC Upstate on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. before returning home to host Charleston Southern at Timmons Arena on December 11.