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Croone's Buzzer Beater Sinks Wofford

Stephen Croone's tip-in off a Devin Sibley missed layup just before the buzzer sounded helped Furman fend off Wofford and snap a six-game losing streak to the two-time defending Southern Conference champions.

Furman guard Stephen Croone
Furman guard Stephen Croone
Photo Courtesy Furman Athletics

GREENVILLE, S.C.--Senior guard Stephen Croone tipped in a missed Devin Sibley driving layup attempt at the buzzer, and Furman ended its six-game losing streak to Wofford in thrilling fashion, with a 63-62 win over Southern Conference victory on Saturday afternoon in front of a rowdy crowd 2,252 fans at Timmons Arena.

The win saw Furman improve its record to 10-10 overall and 4-3 in Southern Conference play, while Wofford fell to 8-12 overall and 4-3 in the SoCon.

Croone had just two points in the opening half, but posted 15 in the second frame, with none more important than the final two, as Furman posted its first win over Wofford since Jan. 14, 2013, when the Paladins posted a 69-65 win over the Terriers at Timmons Arena. Croone scored nine of the Paladins' final 11 points in the contest, as Furman closed the game on an 11-2 run to capture their first win over the Terriers of the Medved era.

It also marks the first time since the 2013-14 season that the two-time defending Southern Conference champion Terriers have lost back-to-back games to a Southern Conference foe, with the last time coming against Chattanooga in back-to-back games during that particular season.

The third loss for the Terriers in SoCon is more than Wofford suffered the entire season in league play a year ago, while the 10th win for the Paladins are the most regular-season wins for the program in the Niko Medved era, and most since winning 15 games in the 2011-12 season. Furman also improved to 8-1 at home this season, which is its best record on the home hardwood since posting an 11-2 mark at home in 2010-11Wofford held a 60-52 lead with 4:01 remaining following a Fletcher Magee off-balance triple from the left elbow to give the two-time defending SoCon champion Terriers their largest lead of the game.

The Terriers, who were 7-1 in games in which they were leading with five minutes left in the game this season, headed into their final media timeout with all the momentum. However, following pair of misses by both teams, Croone would get his scoring spree started to close the game with a driving layup to get the Paladins within six, at 60-54, with 3:13 remaining.

Furman fail to rebound a miss by the Terriers on the other end, however, Spencer Collins turned the ball over, and Furman was off to the races the other way, with Devin Sibly driving in for two of his 11 points on the night and was fouled in the process, however, his free throw missed, leaving the Paladins trailing by four (60-56) with 1:47 left.

Jaylen Allen would rebound the Sibley missed foul shot, and the Terriers once again ran the shot clock down before Eric Garcia launched a three, which fell short and went out of bounds and over to the Paladins after a long review.

Following the review, which offered no indesputible video evidence to give the ball back to the Terriers, Furman would capitalize once again, as Croone hit his lone triple of the night, bringing the Paladins within a point, at 60-59, with 1:03 left.

It was a big defensive play, which allowed the Paladins take their first lead since holding a brief 34-33 with 16:11 to play in the game, as Sibley blocked a Magee shot and Acox came up with the rebound, giving the Paladins the ball back with 33 seconds left.

The ball eventually found its way to Croone, who drove to the basket and got off a shot before being fouled with 25 seconds remaining. The shot caromed out, but Croone went to the line for a pair of charity shots.

Despite Furman struggling in the game from the foul line, going just 15-of-26 overall from the stripe, Croone was a perfect 6-for-6. After a Wofford 30-second timeout, Croone calmly made both free throws and the Paladins had just their second lead of the second half, at 61-60, with 25 seconds remaining.

Wofford would re-take the lead on the next possession, as Justin Gordon fed C.J. Neumann, who scored a layup off the right glass, giving the Terriers a brief 62-61 lead with 6.9 seconds remaining, setting up Croone's final heroics. During the scoring play by the Terrriers, Daniel Fowler was shaken up on the play, running into a screen at the top of the arc, and he was subbed out just prior to Furman's final possession.

With 6.9 seconds remaining, the Paladins took a timeout, and Geoff Beans would enter the lineup as his replacement.

Following a timeout, the Paladins inbounded the ball underneath their own baskey, and Sibley drove the length of the floor and down the right side, and his layup fell off the right of the rim, however, Croone tipped the ball in cleanly just before the buzzer sounded to give Furman one of its biggest wins in recent seasons.

Furman opened the game in strong fashion, as the Paladins would fashion a 19-6 lead following a dunk by Kendrec Ferrara. The Terriers would storm back on the strength of the play from Spencer Collins, who finished with a game-high 19 points, including 14 in the opening frame.

It appeared that early on the Paladins may well run away from the Terriers just like it did against the other three home conference games against VMI, Samford and Chattanooga earlier this season. However, local product Spencer Collins wouldn't let the Terriers go quietly. He would score eight points in a 12-0 Wofford run, getting the Terriers within a point, at 19-18, following a jumper with 8:25 remaining.

Kris Acox would get one of his three dunks in the opening half of play on the ensuing possession to make it a 21-18 contest with 8:09 remaining. The Paladins would stretch the lead back to seven, at 27-20, following another Acox dunk following a steal with 5:14 remaining in the opening frame.

The Terriers would close the half with 10 unanswered points to take a 30-27 lead into the halftime locker room, as Wofford clamped down on the defensive end over the final five minutes, holding the Paladins scoreless, as Furman missed its final six shots of the half. Meanwhile, it was Collins that heated up once again over the course of the final five minutes of the opening half, as he scored six of the final 10 points in the opening frame, while Terrier reserve forward Ryan Sawvell added the other four.

After the rough start shooting the basketball, the Terriers would complete the half connecting on 50% (11-for-22) shots from the field, including 4-for-8 from three-point land. Additionally, the Terriers were able to hold the Paladins to 33.3% shooting in the opening frame (10-of-30), while going just 2-for-11 from beyond the arc. The two teams were all tied on the boards at the break, 16-16.

Collins scored his game-high 19 points on 6-of-15 shooting from the field, including 4-for-9 from three-point land. The Easley, S.C. product finished the opening frame going 5-of-8 from the field and 4-of-5 from three-point range. The Paladins, however, would hold Collins to a total of five points in the second half, as he would be held to 1-for-7 from the field in the second half, including 0-of-5 from three-point land. His lone points of the half came on a jumper and three foul shots.

Collins finished the night going 3-for-4 from the line, as part of an 80% (12-of-15) shooting performance from the charity stripe from the league's leading free throw shooting club. The only other Terrier player in double figures in the contest was Eric Garcia, who finished with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and 1-of-2 from three-point range in the contest.

Croone finished the night connecting on 5-of-8 shots from the field, 1-of-4 from three-point land, and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the line. In the first half, Croone's lone two points came from the charity stripe, and he was 0-for-3 from three-point land. In stark contrast to his first half peformance, Croone went a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, including 1-of-1 from long range and 4-for-4 from the line to equal his team-leading 15 points. Croone also had five rebounds, an assist, and a steal in the winning performance.

Joining the senior in double figures were Devin Sibley and Kris Acox, who posted 11 points apiece. Acox also added eight boards, and the Paladins improved to 7-0 on the campaign when Acox scores in double figures. Sibley's double-figure game marked his fifth-straight game in double digits. Furman rebounded to shoot the ball extremely well in the second half, connecting on 63.2% (12-of-19) of its shots in the second half, including going 2-for-4 (50%) from three-point land in the second half, finishing the game with a comprehensive field goal percentage of 44.9% (22-of-49) from the field for the game. Furman finished just 4-for-15 (26.7%) from three-point land. The Paladins connected on 15-of-26 (57.7%) from the free throw line in the contest.

The Terriers finished the game connecting on 21-of-50 shots (42.0%) shooting from the field, and shot the ball at a 42.1% (8-of-19) from three-point range in the contest.

Furman finished the contest holding advantages in points in the paint (36-18), points off turnovers (9-7), fast break points (4-0) and bench points (21-11). Both teams posted 12 points in second chance opportunities, while Wofford held a narrow 33-30 edge on the boards. Wofford turned the ball over 12 times in the contest, while the Paladins committed 12 miscues.

Furman returns to the hardwood on Monday night, with a trip to VMI to take on the Keydets in a tip-off set for 7 p.m. at Cameron Hall. Wofford will face East Tennessee State on the hardwood, with tip time slated for 7 p.m. at Benjamin Johnson Arena.