JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Furman Athletics/WSPA) – Mike Bothwell scored a career-high 32 points as the Furman Paladins defeated ETSU, 78-66 Saturday night to grab sole possession of first place in the SoCon.
With the win the Paladins (10-3, 4-0) claimed their 19th straight win at Timmons Arena. ETSU falls to 6-5 (2-1) on the season.
Trailing 58-57 with 10 minutes to play, Furman ended the game on a 21-8 run, including 13 points from Bothwell, to claim its fifth win in the last six meetings with ETSU at Timmons Arena. The Paladins held the Bucs to only three field goals over the final 11:13 of the second half as part of a game-ending 26-11 spurt.
Back-to-back baskets from Bothwell gave Furman the lead before a Marcus Foster free throw and Jalen Slawson layup with 6:52 left stretched the advantage to 64-60. Bothwell sliced to the basket from the right wing for a two-handed slam on Furman’s next possession, and Alex Hunter followed a pair of Buccaneer free throws with a jumper in the lane and a three-pointer to put Furman in front 71-64 with 3:49 to go. The Paladins capped the game with seven straight points from Bothwell to secure the win.
Bothwell connected on 11-of-19 shots from the field and made good on 8-of-9 trips to the foul line to total his career-best 32 points. Hunter finished 6-of-9 from the floor to score 15 points, Clay Mounce added 14 points and nine rebounds and Slawson reached double figures with 11 points.
The Paladins shot 51.8% from the field, converted on 12-of-15 trips to the foul line and outscored the Bucs 18-8 on second chance points behind a 35-30 rebounding edge. ETSU shot 45.6%, but connected on just 4-of-20 three-point tries and 10-of-18 trips to the charity stripe.
The win also marked Furman’s fifth in a row. Up next they’ll travel to take on VMI Wednesday, January 20.