GREENVILLE, S.C. – Charleston Southern battled undefeated and No. 23 Furman throughout, but the Paladins used a late 14-4 run to pull away for a 77-69 win Tuesday at Timmons Arena.
CSU (4-5) trimmed an early nine-point deficit to three at halftime and staged a 10-3 spurt to close within 54-52 after Furman (11-0) pushed its edge back to nine in the second half. Dontrell Shuler's jumper at the 9:46 mark punctuated the flurry.
The Paladins responded, though, as Tre Clark, Alex Hunter and Noah Gurley hit three-pointers to highlight a 14-4 surge that put the Bucs in a 68-56 hole with 5:53 left. CSU scrapped back to within seven with 2:08 remaining, but came up short against a Furman club sporting wins over defending national champion Villanova and 2018 Final Four participant Loyola Chicago.
CSU head coach Barclay Radebaugh was proud of his squad's effort. Despite shooting just 40 percent and committing several untimely turnovers late, the Bucs made Furman work to extend its unbeaten streak.
"We played really, really well for 30 minutes," Radebaugh said. "I love how our guys competed and their attitude is tremendous, but our execution down the stretch needs additional growth. It was a two-point game and we just didn't execute or take care of the ball. Furman's a very good, very well-coached team and they took advantage. To be able to watch the film from this game against this good of a team in this kind of environment is gonna help us a lot."
How It Happened
- Trailing 51-42 after Andrew Brown's dunk energized the partisan crowd, CSU quickly swung the momentum near the midway point of the second half. Sean Price went end-to-end for a three-point play, Duncan LeXander drained a corner three and Shuler drove for a pair of scores to help CSU close the gap to one score before Furman's decisive run.
- Two Ty Jones free throws, a Furman turnover and a LeXander jumper allowed CSU to come within 72-65, but Gurley recorded a three-point play to stem the tide.
- In the first half, LeXander connected on a pair of treys to help CSU take a 10-7 lead. Furman started red hot, however, building a 24-15 lead by hitting seven of its first nine triples. CSU, sparked by two Christian Keeling threes and one from Deontaye Buskey, then put together a 13-4 spurt to tie the game at 28-28.
- Furman nudged its lead back out to seven before Price swished a three of his own to help CSU close the margin to 37-34 at intermission.
Inside the Numbers
- Gurley led all scorers with 17 points. Four other Paladins reached double figures to help make up for a scoreless night from Jordan Lyons. Lyons entered play averaging 20.2 points per game.
- Brown and Hunter added 16 each and combined to hit eight of Furman's 12 threes.
- Matt Rafferty was undoubtedly the player of the game, posting his fifth double-double of the season with 14 points and 14 rebounds. The 6-8 senior forward also contributed six assists, four steals and three blocked shots.
- LeXander and Buskey paced CSU with 13 points apiece, while Keeling added a double-double of 12 points and ten rebounds. It was Keeling's second double-double of the season and eighth of his career.
- CSU, which entered third nationally in turnovers forced per game, harried the normally efficient Paladins into 18. Furman entered averaging just 11.9 per game.
- Furman out-rebounded CSU 40-35, but the Bucs were +7 on the glass in the second half. The Paladins blanked the Bucs, 12-0, in second chance points in the opening stanza.
CSU travels to meet North Florida on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Ospreys edged the Bucs, 76-70, on Dec. 1 in Charleston.