Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Paladins’ Road Woes Continue in 78-69 Loss at Mercer

Mercer guard Jalyn McCreary’s big night helps end Mercer’s 18-game losing streak to the Paladins.
Courtesy of Furman Athletics

The Furman Paladins traveled to Macon, Ga. on Wednesday, Feb. 7 looking to extend their winning streak over the Mercer Bears to 19 straight games. The Dins entered the contest as 3.5-point favorites, but it was clear from the opening tip the Bears had a different idea.

Senior guard Marcus Foster was the lone bright spot on an otherwise gloomy night for the Dins. Foster led the Paladins in scoring with 19 points while also scoring his one thousandth career point on an and-one layup early in the first half, making him the 51st player in school history to accomplish such a feat.

The game began with a Furman turnover and a Jalyn McCreary (forward) dunk on the other end. Junior forward Tyrese Hughey responded with the game’s next five points to give the Paladins a lead they would not give up the rest of the first half. McCreary and Foster went blow for blow in the first half, contributing to 14 and 11 of their team’s points, respectively.

The Paladins settled in defensively, creating six first half turnovers and several contested jump shot misses, which then led to fast break opportunities. Junior guards Carter Whitt and Pjay Smith Jr., alongside freshman forward Cooper Bowser, ushered Furman to a 7-0 run midway through the first half, extending the lead to eight.

Mercer guard Jalen Cobb responded with back-to-back buckets, cutting the lead to five with just under six minutes to go in the first half. With both sides trading baskets at the end of the half, Furman entered the halftime break leading by four, 40-36.

The second half was a much different story, as the Bears stormed back with an 11-1 run to take the lead at 52-51 with 13 minutes 29 seconds left in the game. Following this run, the Bears never trailed again as they stifled the Paladin offense, holding Furman to only 29 second half points. This Bears spark was led by guard Caleb Hunter, who had 12 of his 14 points in the second half, including six straight to begin the Mercer comeback.

McCreary also continued his impressive performance into the second half with several mid-range jumpers. He led all scorers with 28 points.

Poor three point shooting and defensive rebounding obstructed a late Furman comeback. The Dins shot just 27% from behind the three point arc and allowed nine Mercer offensive rebounds, resulting in several second chance points. Additionally, the Paladins failed to make a field goal in the final four minutes of the game while Mercer made clutch free throws down the stretch to clinch the victory.

With this loss, Furman dropped to 12-12 (6-5 SoCon) while Mercer climbed to 11-13 (4-7 SoCon). The Paladins will be back on the road in Johnson City, Tenn. to take on the East Tennessee State Buccaneers 13-11 (5-6 SoCon) on Saturday, Feb. 10 at 6 p.m.

The Paladins warming up for the second half against Mercer.

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About the Contributor
Brock Eastman
Brock Eastman, Sports Editor
Brock Eastman is a junior from Summerville, SC. He is studying Biomedical Science and Religion on the pre-dental track. This is his first year with the paper and he’s excited to cover all of Furman’s teams and athletes. A fun fact about him is that he finished first in his age group in the Greenville Marathon two years ago.
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