Boiling Springs, N.C. – Sophomore Noah Gurley scored 18 points and junior Alex Hunter added 13 as Furman snapped Gardner-Webb’s 14-game home winning streak at Paul Porter Arena with a 70-63 victory over the Runnin’ Bulldogs in the season opener for both schools Tuesday evening in Boiling Springs, N.C.
Furman built a 60-46 advantage with a 12-2 run midway through the second half, capped by a Hunter triple with 9:59 to go and a Gurley basket in the paint with 7:53 to play. Gardner-Webb answered with a 12-0 spurt to trim the margin to 60-58 on Jose Perez’s three-pointer with 3:40 left, but Clay Mounce switched the momentum by tipping in a rebound and completing the three-point play at the foul line to give the Paladins a 63-58 advantage with 2:37 to go.
The Paladins allowed just one Gardner-Webb basket over the final 3:40 and connected on 7-of-8 trips to the foul line to hand the Runnin’ Bulldogs just their third loss at home in their last 29 games at Paul Porter Arena. The loss marked the first non-conference defeat for Gardner-Webb at home since Furman claimed a 68-65 decision on the same court during the 2016-17 season.
Gurley connected on 6-of-8 shots from the floor and 5-of-6 trips to the foul line while adding five rebounds to go with his team-high 18 points. Hunter scored his 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting and played turnover-free basketball in his 35 minutes on the court. Mounce rounded out Furman’s double figure scorers with 11 points. He added nine rebounds, two steals, two assists and two blocked shots.
The Paladins shot 46.3% from the field, despite making good on just 6-of-25 three-point attempts, and finished 14-of-18 at the foul line. Furman forced Gardner-Webb into 16 turnovers and outscored the Runnin’ Bulldogs 38-24 in the paint and 10-7 on second chance opportunities.
Gardner-Webb shot just 38.6% from the field. Perez paced the Runnin’ Bulldogs with 19 points on 6-of-15 shooting.
Furman opens its home schedule with a “Purple Out” on Friday night at Timmons Arena versus 2018 NCAA Final Four participant and 2019 Missouri Valley Conference champion Loyola Chicago. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and the first 300 Furman students in attendance will receive a free purple Furman basketball t-shirt. The first 500 fans in Timmons Arena will receive a free purple light baton.