Charleston, S.C. – Penn State built a 21-point first half lead and held off a late Furman charge to edge the Paladins, 73-68, in the opening game of the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic Thursday at TD Arena in Charleston, S.C.

The Paladins (2-1) will take on the loser of Thursday’s Old Dominion/Virginia Tech clash at 2 p.m. on Friday in the consolation bracket. Penn State (4-0) faces the winner of the Hokies and Monarchs at 12 p.m. in Friday’s first semifinal.

Trailing 69-63 with under 2:30 remaining, Furman’s Mike Bothwell fed Jalen Slawson for a dunk to trim the lead to four. Following a media timeout, Penn State’s Andrew Funk missed a three and the Paladins’ Tyrese Hughey converted from behind the arc with 1:48 to play to cut the margin to 69-68.

After Seth Lundy responded with a basket to increase the Nittany Lions’ advantage to 71-68, Furman called timeout with 1:04 left. Bothwell missed an open look at a three from the top of the key off the inbounds, but the Paladin defense got a stop to keep it a one possession game. On the next possession, Tyrese Hughey rebounded a missed three by JP Pegues, but Bothwell’s second game-tying attempt from long range rattled out with nine seconds remaining and Lundy made good on a pair of free throws to close out the Penn State victory.

The Nittany Lions shot 54.8% from the field in the first half, including over 71% in the opening 10 minutes. On the strength of six first half triples, Penn State built a 21-point advantage before carrying a 46-29 lead into the locker room.

Furman continued to trail, 63-49, with under nine minutes to go but Bothwell drained a triple, Slawson finished a drive to the basket with a slam, and Ben VanderWal connected on a three-pointer from the corner. Slawson capped the 10-0 spurt by backing his man down for a jump hook that brought Furman within four at 63-59 with 4:57 on the clock.

Bothwell posted a team-leading 26 points to go with six boards and four assists, while Hughey, a sophomore, recorded his first double-double with career-highs in points (15) and rebounds (11). Slawson added 10 points, grabbed six rebounds, and dished out seven assists.

Furman shot 42.2% from the field, including 51.9% in the second half. The Paladins connected on 11-of-34 three-point attempts and fashioned a 40-32 rebounding advantage.

Lundy and Jalen Pickett, who each drained three triples, paced Penn State with 20 points apiece. Pickett added seven assists and Lundy grabbed a team-high seven rebounds for the Nittany Lions, who shot 45.8% and hit on 11-of-27 three-point attempts.