Richey secures 100th career win as Furman beats Mercer, 81-66

College Basketball (NCAAM)
Furman basketball generic

Greenville, S.C. (Furman SID) – Mike Bothwell’s game high 17 points paced the Furman men’s basketball team to an 81-66 victory, giving head coach Bob Richey the 100th of his career, over the Mercer Bears Saturday afternoon in Southern Conference action from Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

Furman, who has now won 13 in a row over Mercer dating back to the 2015-16 season, improves to 11-6 on the year and 3-1 in league play. With the loss, Mercer drops to 8-7 overall and 1-1 in the conference.

Bothwell was one of four Paladins to score in double figures after shooting 6-of-14 from the field and dishing out five assists. Joe Anderson registered a career high 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting behind the 3-point line. Marcus Foster turned in 12 points, highlighted by an 8-for-8 mark at the free throw line, and eight rebounds. Jalen Slawson was also 8-for-8 at the charity stripe and contributed 12 points, five rebounds, three steals and two assists. Alex Hunter added nine points, five assists and two steals. Conley Garrison and Garrett Hien both had seven points.

The trio of Slawson, Foster and Bothwell combined to make 20-of-20 free throws during the contest as Furman finished 23-of-26 (88.5 percent) for the contest. Slawson’s game high three blocks were part of season high seven for the Paladins.

Kamar Robertson led the Bears with 14 points while Jalen Johnson recorded 13. Felipe Haase tallied 11 points and Shawn Walker Jr. 10. Haase, Walker Jr. and Johnson were part of five Mercer players who pulled down four rebounds. Walker Jr. had a team best five assists.

Furman connected on 16-of-30 (53.3 percent) of its field goals in the first half led by Bothwell’s 10 points.

After Haase tied the score at 7-7 for Mercer, the Paladins answered by going on a 15-5 run over the next 5:32 and took a 21-12 lead with 10:56 remaining on Tyrese Hughey’s driving layup. Furman built its lead out to 12 before the Bears got as close as nine points four times. The Paladins took their largest lead of the opening half at 39-21 with 3:37 left following a layup from Garrison. Bothwell would keep Furman ahead by 18 points, 41-23, at the 2:18 mark after making a pair of free throws.

Hunter knocked down a 3-pointer off an in-bound pass with 11 seconds to go and sent the Paladins into halftime leading 44-27.

Furman scored six of the first nine points in the second half and held its largest lead of the game, 50-30, with 18:10 remaining when Slawson made two free throws. The Bears cut their deficit down to 62-52 at the 8:44 mark, but the Paladins responded with an 8-2 run, lasting 3:44, to go back in front by 16 points, 70-54, on a 3-pointer from Anderson.
Mercer staged a late rally using a 7-0 run to trim Furman’s lead down to 70-61 with 2:48 left. The Paladins closed out the game on a 11-5 run with Slawson and Foster sealing the win by going 6-for-6 at the free throw line over the final 1:01. Foster made four consecutive free throws during a 13-second stretch to put Furman in front 81-64.

Furman concluded the game shooting 42.9 percent (24-of-56) from the field and held a 10-8 advantage in fast break points.

The Paladins are back at Timmons Arena on Wednesday, January 12 to host East Tennessee State at 7 p.m.

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