Player of the Day: Stephen Croone, Furman
All-Tournament Team for Friday:
Diante Baldwin, UNCG
Stephen Croone, Furman
Darius Jones-Gibson, Samford
Devin Sibley, Furman
RJ White, UNCG
UNCG 81, Samford 76
Furman 73, The Citadel 56
The first night of the Southern Conference Tournament in Asheville was exciting and sets up for a nice day tomorrow.
In the opening game, UNCG led most of the way, but Samford stayed in striking distance throughout. The Spartans are only playing six scholarship players right now, and all six wound up in double figures in scoring. That is a very impressive feat. Samford is a young team that will be better next year, but the Spartans came up with a nice win in this one. The Spartans are one of the most talented teams in the league. They have not always lived up to that talent, but look like they are really starting to come together.
In the second game, Stephen Croone absolutely dominated the game for Furman, scoring 27 points. He was brilliant in this one and showed why he is one of the most talented players in the conference. It was a dominating performance by a young Furman team. The Paladins are going to be much better next year, but have a chance to do even more this year still. They have been hungry to prove that they are improving. They have not won two straight against D1 teams all year. However, they have won two of their last three, with their lone loss coming in a two point loss to Wofford.
Saturday's match-ups are now completely set. The schedule is as follows:
Wofford vs. UNCG, noon Eastern
Western Carolina vs. ETSU, 2:30
Chattanooga vs. Furman, 6
Mercer vs. VMI, 8:30
If you can only catch a couple of games on Saturday, watch the first game and the last game. Wofford-UNCG has intriguing upset possibilities. Mercer-VMI presents an interesting contrast in styles, as the fast paced Keydets play the slow it down Bears. Those two games should both be intriguing. The Western Carolina-ETSU game is at 2:30 Eastern, and should be a close game, as both teams look to regain their form from earlier this season. The Chattanooga-Furman game could be interesting if the Paladins youth comes together and Croone has another game like he did on Friday night.