Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

No Madness as Furman Hoops Seasons End in Asheville

Furman men’s and women’s teams entered the Southern Conference tournament on March 9 as underdogs. Sadly, both teams were defeated and saw their seasons come to an end.
Photo by Elena Davidson

Women’s Basketball

Photo by Elena Davidson

Entering the tournament as the seventh seed put the Lady Paladins at a disadvantage in a quarterfinal matchup with the second-ranked UNC Greensboro Spartans. The game began with an offensive onslaught as the teams scored a combined 35 points in the first quarter. The quarter concluded with a jumper by sophomore guard Sydney Ryan with UNCG on top by one, 18-17.

After the first quarter, the game gradually slipped through the Dins’ fingers as they trailed by double digits throughout the rest of the game. The Spartans shot 42% from the field and created 13 Furman turnovers, leading to 20 UNCG points. These turnovers were the difference maker as the Dins would go on to lose the game by twenty, at 64-44. 

Junior guard Tate Walers, who scored game-high 18 points, led Furman in this category. Junior forward Jada Session led the Paladins on the glass with 10 rebounds while adding seven points. 

With this loss, the Dins conclude the season with a record of 15-16. Looking to the future, the Dins will be returning several key members of this year’s team. Head coach Pierre Curtis will also have another full offseason to reestablish the identity of women’s basketball going forward.


Men’s Basketball

Photo by Elena Davidson

On the men’s side, the Asheville trip was more competitive. The Dins won their quarterfinal game and avenged a regular-season loss to the Western Carolina Catamounts. In this matchup, the Dins shot 46% from the field and 38% from the 3-point line to win an overtime thriller, 79-76.

Sophomore guard JP Pegues led the Dins with 28 points, and senior guard Marcus Foster contributed 18 to the win. Junior guard PJay Smith added 12 more on a perfect 5-5 from the field. The Dins took care of the ball as well, totaling just four turnovers in all 45 minutes of play. It was their defensive effort on a contested 3-pointer and scramble for a loose ball that secured the win in the closing seconds. 

With the win, Furman found themselves in the semifinal game on Sunday, March 10 against the top-seeded Samford Bulldogs. In the previous two meetings, the teams split the series with each team winning at home, but Samford came out on top in the tie-breaking game.

Furman jumped out to an early 8-0 advantage, all courtesy of Foster. As all dreams do, however, this run quickly ended. The Bulldogs woke up offensively and mounted a comeback. Samford thus went into the halftime break on a 14-1 run, resulting in a six-point Furman deficit. 

The comeback was largely due to a dry shooting spell from the Dins, who could not make any of their shots late in the half. The Bulldogs entered a zone defense late in the first half, which they would maintain for most of the rest of the game. The 1-3-1 zone threw Furman off balance on offense. As a result, the Dins failed to regain their footing. Samford was led by junior forward Achor Achor, who wreaked havoc on the Dins all night, scoring game-high 28 points. 

For Furman to mount a second half comeback, the shooting needed to improve. Contrary to expectations, Samford pushed the lead up to as many as 13 and made free throws down the stretch to seal the victory. 

Despite the loss, Furman fans were excited about the performance of junior guard Carter Whitt, who had his best game of the season. Whitt finished with 20 points on 7-11 shooting and four made 3-pointers. 

Moving forward, there are questions about which players will decide to stay with the program next year or transfer somewhere else. However, every player on Furman’s current roster has remaining eligibility. Therefore, it is possible to see the exact same team again next year.

March 19, 2024: Since the publication of this article, graduate-senior guard Marcus Foster and junior guard Carter Whitt have announced their intention to transfer for the 2024-2025 season. Both have received interest from multiple programs and will make their decision in the next few weeks.

March 22, 2024: Junior guard JP Pegues has also announced his intention to transfer.

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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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