Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Paladins Shine in Crunch Time to Knock off Western Carolina

JP Pegues strikes again with a go-ahead three pointer in the final second to propel the Dins to a 65-62 win over WCU.
Courtesy of Furman Athletics

The Furman Paladins men’s basketball team (9-9, 3-2 SoCon) faced perhaps their toughest SoCon test on Saturday as the Western Carolina Catamounts (15-3, 4-1 SoCon) came to a sold out Timmons Arena.

Vontarious Woolbright (guard) leads the West Carolina University team, and posted a SoCon best 21.1 points per game and scored 30 points the last time Furman faced him in the SoCon tournament semifinals last March. The Dins, however, had a fully healthy roster for the second game in a row with the return of Marcus Foster (guard) and found themselves riding a three-game win streak.

The first half contained slow starts from both teams, and it was clear from the jump that there was going to be a lot of physicality on display for forty minutes. The Catamounts shooting in the first half was subpar at best. WCU relies on volume shooting from guards Tre Jackson and Russell Jones Jr., but this was not the case in the early going. The Dins, however, were lifted by Foster and JP Pegues who hit key threes midway through the half to secure a lead. The half was concluded by a PJay Smith three pointer with eight seconds left that sent Timmons Arena into a frenzy, and the Dins stretched the lead to 10 going into the halftime break.

The second half was a different story as the Dins’ lead evaporated in just over five minutes. The shaky start was mainly due to struggles at the free throw line where the Dins shot a mere 50%. Woolbright went to work early and often as well, utilizing his size and quickness to post up Foster a number of times and get several two-point buckets to drop. It appeared as though the Catamounts attempted to slow the pace down in the second half and take their time to find quality shots while throwing a fast-paced Furman offense off balance.

The dog fight continued into the final minute of the game when Pegues was brilliant with his shot creation abilities. He assisted on a Foster three pointer and returned the favor from him in transition, laying the ball in to give the Dins a three-point lead with 34 seconds to go. After a WCU timeout, DJ Campbell (guard) connected on his lone three pointer of the game to tie it all up at 62 apiece. As everyone in the building knew who was going to take the last shot, the Dins spread the floor in the final seconds.

Pegues created space, stepped back, and drained the game-winning three pointer with 0.6 seconds left on the clock. A scene of elation ensued thereafter for everyone in the building except Pegues, who had a calm look on his face as if to say he had been there before, and, of course, the Furman fans knew it.

The win sent the Dins to third in the SoCon standings and extended their conference winning streak to four games.

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About the Contributor
Jack Quinn
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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