Only a few nights removed from Jordan Lyons tying an NCAA record with 15 threes, the Furman Paladins knocked off the defending national champions, 76-68 in overtime in Philadelphia.
The Wildcats were fresh off a humiliating 73-46 loss to Michigan, the team they took down last April to win the NCAA Tournament. They were hoping Saturday’s matchup against their SoCon opponents would provide them with an opportunity to get their groove back after suffering such a beatdown.
However, Bob Richey’s Furman squad had other plans. In a performance that was quite the opposite of the game they played on Thursday (the Paladins shot 49 three-pointers in that contest), they hunkered down and entered a defensive war with the Wildcats.
Of course, that is not to say that their offense put forth a poor showing. Saturday, the typically fast-paced Paladin offense adapted to Villanova’s style, shooting somewhat efficiently while making their perimeter shots count.
Naturally, this matchup was close to the finish, culminating in a late whistle against Villanova that sent Furman to the free throw line with 2.6 seconds remaining. Matt Rafferty stepped to the line, missing the first shot of a 1-and-1.
Once there, Furman seemed to thrive on the pressure foisted on it. Hitting a few big shots after Villanova jumped out to a 63-62 lead, the Paladins never let off the gas. The win was all theirs.
Below is the box score from tonight’s matchup:
After nights like this one, it’s hard to see how this 5-0 Furman team loses any games before their late-December matchup with LSU.
Hopefully I didn’t just jinx them.