Cullowhee, N.C. (Furman SID) – Senior Jordan Lyons poured in 33 points and became Furman’s all-time leader with 91 career victories as the first place Paladins topped Western Carolina, 82-73, Saturday afternoon at the Ramsey Center in Cullowhee, N.C.
With the victory Furman improved to 20-5 overall and 10-2 in Southern Conference play, while the Catamounts fell to 15-8 overall and 7-5 in the league. Lyons’ 91st victory moved him past 2019 seniors Andrew Brown and Matt Rafferty on Furman’s all-time wins list and the Paladins notched 20 wins in four consecutive seasons for the first time in school history. The 2020 Paladins became the fastest to reach 20 wins in school history.
Tied at 60-60 with under nine minutes to play, Lyons and Alex Hunter each drained a three as part of a 10-2 run that gave Furman a 70-62 advantage on Noah Gurley’s basket with 5:15 remaining. A 9-3 run by the Catamounts trimmed the Furman advantage to 73-71 on Mason Faulkner’s free throws with 2:16 to go.
After a pair of free throws by Lyons increased the margin to four points, Furman recorded back-to-back stops on the defensive end and Lyons converted on a three-point play with 56.4 seconds left to put the Paladins in front 78-71. Furman made four of its six free throw attempts over the final 25 seconds to finish off the nine-point victory.
The Paladins shot 50.9% from the field and outscored the Catamounts 26-20 in the paint and 10-6 off second chance opportunities, despite losing the rebounding battle, 33-29. Western Carolina connected on 14-of-29 three-point tries, but Furman limited the Catamounts to 46.3% shooting from the field overall and outscored the home team 16-9 at the foul line.
Lyons hit 10-of-14 shots, including 4-of-7 behind the arc, and finished 9-of-12 at the foul line to net his game-high 33 points. Hunter posted a career-high 21 points on the strength of 5-of-7 shooting from long range, while Gurley added 11 points.
Onno Steger hit seven threes to pace Western Carolina with 24 points and Faulkner added 22. Carlos Dotson finished with a game-high 12 rebounds.
Furman travels to Birmingham, Ala., to take on Samford on Wednesday night at the Pete Hanna Center. The Paladins return home on February 15, to host Chattanooga for Legend’s Weekend.
Tickets for Furman’s remaining home games are on sale now at the Timmons Arena Box Office and online at FurmanPaladins.com. Current Furman students will have access to free tickets on Furman basketball game days. Click here to learn about the student ticket policy for the 2019-20 season.