Birmingham, Ala. (Furman SID) – Mike Bothwell totaled 35 points and JP Pegues added 20 to lead Furman past Samford, 93-79, on Saturday afternoon at the Pete Hanna Center as the Paladins claimed a share of the Southern Conference regular season title and secured the No. 1 seed for the SoCon Men’s Basketball Championship.
The Paladins, who improved to 24-7 overall and 15-3 in the SoCon, garnered their first share of the conference title since 2017 and captured the top seed for the first time since 1991. Furman will face the winner of Friday’s first round matchup between No. 8 seed Mercer and No. 9 The Citadel in the quarterfinal round of the SoCon Tournament on Saturday, March 4, at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville. Tip-off in Asheville, N.C. is set for 12 p.m. and tickets are available at
Bothwell scored Furman’s first 18 points, including connecting on four straight three-pointers to stake the Paladins to an early 18-7 advantage. Furman held a 24-18 lead with 7:56 left in the half when Bothwell was charged with his third foul and forced to take a seat on the bench, but the Paladins responded by outscoring Samford 26-15 the remainder of the half on the strength of three triples from Pegues to carry a 50-33 lead into the break.
Samford used a 13-5 spurt midway through the second half to trim the Paladins’ lead to 70-62 on Jermaine Marshall layup with 9:09 to play. The Paladins, who shot 54.7% from the field and hit on 14-of-28 three-point attempts, answered immediately when Jalen Slawson dumped a pass to Garrett Hien from a two-handed slam. Marcus Foster made good on two trips to the foul line on the next possession to stretch the advantage to 12 points, and Samford never got within single digits the rest of the way.
Bothwell finished 10-of-15 from the field, including 5-for-8 beyond the arc, and connected on 10-of-11 trips to the charity stripe. Pegues, a sophomore from Nashville, Tenn., went 4-for-7 behind the three-point line and added four rebounds and four assists. Foster rounded out the Paladins’ double-figure scorers with 16 points while Jalen Slawson snagged a game-high 10 rebounds. Furman converted on 21-of-24 trips to the foul line and hit on 17-of-18 second half free throw attempts.
Ques Glover led Samford (21-10, 15-3 SoCon) with 27 points and Marshall added 19. Senior Logan Dye finished with 13. The Bulldogs shot 47.4% but connected on just 6-of-21 threes. 
With the victory, Furman matched a school record for SoCon victories (15) in a season and claimed its eighth win in the last nine meetings versus Samford.