Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman Fights Hard at Samford but Comes up Short, 74-72

JP Pegues scored Furman’s last 22 points, but could not quite push the Dins to victory, as they lost in the final seconds.
Courtesy of Furman Athletics
Junior guard JP Pegues scored the Dins final 22 points and a career-high 33 overall in a heartbreaking 74-72 loss to Samford in Birmingham on Feb. 21.

The Paladins traveled to Birmingham on Wednesday, Feb. 21 to take on first place Samford 23-4, (12-2 SoCon) in a highly anticipated rematch from Jan. 24. Their first meeting saw a 78-68 Furman victory, snapping Samford’s 17-game win streak. The Bulldogs were out for revenge on Wednesday and the raucous crowd was a testament to their desire for a win.

Samford came out making shots left and right to grab an early lead. It took about 10 minutes before Furman settled in and kept pace with the Bulldogs. Sophomore forward Ben VanderWal got his third straight start in place of Alex Williams, whose status remains unknown for the time being. VanderWal has been an effective replacement for Williams when it comes to attacking the rim and creating contact. However, Williams has been missed greatly for his 3-point shooting.

The Dins trailed for the entire first half, going on a 5-0 run in the final minute to cut the deficit to only four at the break. Samford maintained a steady lead in the first half due to their relentless effort to close out on Paladin shooters and run their offense through senior guard Rylan Jones.

The second half saw a much more tight knit contest as junior guard PJay Smith Jr. hit a 3-pointer to tie the game up at 32 apiece. From there, the Bulldogs’ lead grew and shrank back through the course of the half.

With 3 minutes and 48 seconds to go in the game, junior guard JP Pegues drained a corner three to give the Dins their first lead of the night. This was Pegues’ third straight 3-pointer and was a part of a personal 22-point run. Perhaps the most important shot of the run was Pegues’ deep three from the Samford logo to put the Dins up 70-67 with 56 seconds to go. He followed up the clutch bucket with a pair of free throws to put the Dins up by five with 40 seconds remaining.

At this point, the game started to go downhill for Furman. The Bulldogs promptly flew down the court, knocked down a 3-pointer and set up their full court pressure. Smith Jr. looked for an option to inbound the ball to and ended up throwing it to the Bulldogs’ senior forward Jermaine Marshall, who laid the ball in to tie the game.

On the other end, Pegues’ contested game winning shot rimmed out and Marshall went coast to coast, knifing through the Dins defense, to score the game clinching layup with three seconds left. Pegues fired a long half court shot that came up short, and exuberance set in for Samford fans, while the Furman players absorbed the shock of what had just occurred.

With this loss, the Dins have found themselves now mathematically unable to win a SoCon regular season title, though seeding for the SoCon tournament is still in play. As of now, the Dins would be the four seed in Asheville. However, two of their remaining three games are against teams one game behind them. Next up for Furman is rival Wofford at home on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 2 p.m. and streaming on ESPN+.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Paladin

Your donation will support the student journalists of Furman University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
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.
Donate to The Paladin

Comments (0)

All The Paladin Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *