Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Paladins Ride Big Second Half to Beat South Carolina State, 86-78

The Furman Paladins improve to 4-3 on the season and keep their home record perfect with a solid win against the South Carolina State Bulldogs.
Courtesy+of+Furman+Athletics
Courtesy of Furman Athletics

The Furman Paladins returned home from their two-and-a-half week long road trip to square off with the 2-5 South Carolina State Bulldogs on Tuesday night. The Dins recovered from a rocky start and finished strong, scoring 51 points in the second half after trailing by one at halftime. The Dins shot 51.6% from the field, including 10-31 from three, six of which were knocked down by PJay Smith Jr. (guard) headlining a season-high 20 points for the junior transfer from LaVergne, TN. 

The first half began with a flurry of made baskets from SC State. The Bulldogs’ junior forward Davion Everett led the way with 23 points, which was a season-high for him, and put theDins on their heels early. SC State opened up playing a zone defense with the intent to draw Furman away from the paint and settle for outside jumpers. This worked at first, before the Dins began to get more comfortable shooting the ball, and SC State resorted to man-to-man defense for the remainder of the half. Furman trailed by as many as nine in the latter parts of the first half before Smith Jr. and Alex Williams (forward) connected on a handful of three pointers to even the score. The Dins defense then progressively came up with some critical stops to cut the lead to one going into halftime. 

The second half was all Furman as Marcus Foster (guard), who is sixth in the nation in points per game, got going from all over the floor. The Bulldogs offense began to stall halfway through the second half, especially after Smith Jr. continued his big shooting night by hitting back-to-back threes at the 10:42 and 9:53 marks. The Dins held a double-digit lead from that point on until the Bulldogs started to obtain scrappy buckets in the closing seconds. SC State went on a 6-0 run with under a minute to go, but the bleak comeback was squashed after Davion Everett missed a deep three and JP Pegues (guard) hit two free throws on the other end. Furman came out on top 86-78 as the final buzzer sounded and the Dins’ fans celebrated another home victory. 

It was a reassuring night for the Paladin defense that had been struggling as of late. The Dins had just come off a rough performance at UAB over Thanksgiving weekend, where they gave up 92 points and lost by six. Though SC State still scored over their season average in points, it was promising to see the improvement on the defensive end from Furman, which included 11 steals. Head Coach Bob Richey has a tall task ahead of him as he takes his team on the road to Princeton (6-0) on Saturday, Dec. 2 followed by Arkansas (4-3) on Dec. 4. We will learn a lot more about what these Paladins are made of in these next two games, and what the future may look like for the defending SoCon champs. 

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About the Contributor
Jack Quinn, Print Designer
Jack is a junior Communications Studies major on the media studies track, and a minor in Visual Strategy. In addition to being the Print Designer for The Paladin Newspaper, he also writes various articles as well. He is a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and is a part of the Furman Club Golf team. He enjoys playing and watching college and professional sports, particularly football, basketball, and golf. Jack is from Dallas, Texas but is hoping to stay in the Greenville area post-graduation.
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