Asheville, N.C. (Furman SID) – Fifth-year senior Mike Bothwell tallied 26 points and sophomore JP Pegues netted 24 to help Furman edge Western Carolina, 83-80, in overtime on Sunday at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville to claim its school-record 26thvictory and secure a spot in the Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Championship Game for the second straight year.
Furman will take on the winner of tonight’s Chattanooga-Wofford game at 7 p.m. on Monday on ESPN. Fans are encouraged to wear purple and tickets for “Purple Monday”. Tickets can be purchased at All information about Furman fan activities in Asheville is available by visiting the SoCon Basketball Championship Central page at 
With the Paladins down 77-74 and under two minutes remaining in overtime, Bothwell drained a three to pull Furman even. Western Carolina’s Tyzhaun Claude put the Catamounts back in front with a slam before Bothwell hit a pair of free throws with 1:06 left to knot the game. After Vonterius Woolbright went 1-for-2 at the foul line on the Catamounts’ next possession, Pegues was fouled while attempting a three-pointer with 28.4 seconds remaining. The Nashville, Tenn., native converted on 2-of-3 trips to the charity stripe to restore the Furman lead.
WCU’s Tre Jackson drove into the paint and missed from close range. Marcus Foster grabbed the rebound and the Catamounts were forced to foul Bothwell with under nine seconds left. The Cleveland Heights, Ohio, native connected on both trips to the stripe to up the Paladin advantage to 83-80. Following a timeout, Western Carolina got the ball in the hands of Tre Jackson on the left wing but the guard’s three-point try at the buzzer missed wide.
Furman shot just 39% for the game, but the Paladins made a season-high 30 free throws on 46 attempts and committed a season-low three turnovers. Western Carolina was forced into eight turnovers, which led to 12 points for the Paladins.
Bothwell finished 7-of-15 from the field and 10-of-16 at the line to score his team-high 26 points while Pegues was 8-of-18 from the floor and 5-for-9 at the line en route to his 24 points. Jalen Slawson totaled 15 points and nine rebounds before fouling out and junior Garrett Hien added 12 points.
The Paladins hit six first-half triples to forge a 45-30 halftime advantage and stretched the margin to 53-33 with under 17:30 left in regulation. Trailing 62-47 with less than 11 minutes to go, Western Carolina outscored the Paladins, who missed their first 14 three-point attempts of the half, 25-8 to claim a 72-70 lead on Woolbright’s basket in the lane with 38 seconds to go. On Furman’s final possession in regulation, Bothwell drew a two-shot foul and hit both free throws with 26 seconds on the clock to even the score at 72-72. WCU’s Russell Jones Jr. attempted a long two-point shot that missed as time expired.
Woolbright poured in 30 points on 11-of-19 shooting to pace the Catamounts and added 11 rebounds and five assists. Jackson tallied 22 points and Claude notched a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards. Western Carolina shot 51.6% in the second half to finish at 44.1% for the game. The Catamounts outscored Furman 46-30 in the paint and managed a 46-36 rebounding advantage.