Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman Makes SoCon Statement, Knocks off Chattanooga 82-65

JP Pegues scored 22 points as the Dins rode a hot first half to victory over the Mocs.
Courtesy of Furman Athletics
Junior guard JP Pegues led the Paladins with 22 points as Furman routed Chattanooga 82-65 on Sunday, Feb. 18.

The Furman Paladins hosted the Chattanooga Mocs on Sunday, Feb. 18 for the second time this season and were looking for revenge after being blown out in January. The Paladin defense played well early, preventing fast break points and contesting Chattanooga’s outside jumpers. The Paladin offense, however, took a while to find its footing. Despite Furman’s perceptible dominance on the court, the score remained tight due to their opponent’s unusual defensive intensity.

Three-pointers were taken early and often, as it appeared that volume shooting was a part of the game plan. After scoring 11 points in the first 10 minutes, Furman turned it on and finished the half with 48. 

Guard Trey Bonham, Chattanooga’s leading scorer, came into the contest averaging 17.7 points per game. The Paladin defense executed successful close-outs on Bonham and, consequently, held him to two points before he exited the game due to a first-half injury. Unfortunately, Mocs guard Honor Huff took over and scored a game-high 26 points in Bonham’s absence. 

Chattanooga made some second-half adjustments, including a full-court zone press that Furman was able to pick apart. The Mocs also attempted to use their size as an advantage, but the sturdy and disciplined play of senior forward Garrett Hien prevented easy Moc buckets in the paint. 

Despite trailing by 19 at the half, the Mocs put together a decent run in the second half to keep the Dins on their toes. The score got as close as 11 before the barrage of 3-pointers by guards PJay Smith Jr., Marcus Foster and JP Pegues widened the gap again. Collectively, those three were 10-22 from the arc and never stopped shooting when they had open space. 

Two consecutive technical fouls against Furman led to four Chattanooga free throw attempts. Fortunately, the Mocs never found their offensive rhythm. Furman’s head coach Bob Richey did not seem too concerned with the fouls, as he left both players in the game.

Furman then went on another late run and cruised to another win in front of their home crowd. The Dins shot 40.7% from three and 48.3% from the field.

Pegues led the way with 22 points, and it is worth noting that junior forward Alex Williams did not dress for the second consecutive game for undisclosed reasons. It will be interesting to see if Richey inserts Williams back in the lineup as the Dins prepare for a stretch run toward the SoCon tournament.

Many Paladins aided Pegues in the offensive onslaught, including two other players in double digits with Smith Jr. scoring 11 and Foster adding 15. Sophomore forward Ben VanderWal continued his up-trending form with nine points while freshman forward Cooper Bowser contributed eight.

With this win, Furman improves their record to 15-12 (9-5 SoCon) and still sits at fourth in the standings — three games back of first place — with four games remaining in the regular season. Next up is first-place Samford at 23-4 (12-2 SoCon) on the road tomorrow, Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. on ESPN+.

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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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