Lexington, Va. -- Sophomore Devin Sibley led three Paladins in double figures with 19 points as Furman downed VMI, 68-56, in Southern Conference men's basketball action on Monday night at Cameron Hall in Lexington, Va.
The Paladins moved into sole possession of third place in the league standings by improving to 11-10 overall and 5-3 in SoCon play. VMI dropped to 6-12 overall and 1-6 in the league.
Trailing 18-17, Furman reeled off a 17-2 run to close the first half and carry a 34-20 advantage into halftime. The decisive run began with a Matt Rafferty layup from Sibley, Geoff Beans three-pointer and Larry Wideman basket on an assist from Rafferty. After VMI's QJ Peterson halted the 7-0 run with a jumper, Furman held the Keydets scoreless over the final 5:32 of the period while fashioning a 10-0 run.
VMI opened the second half on an 8-2 run to cut the Furman lead to 36-28 with 17 minutes to play, but the Paladins answered with a 13-0 spurt, highlighted by back-to-back threes from Wideman, to push the advantage out to 49-28 on Sibley's layup with 13:10 remaining.
A rash of Furman turnovers led to a 12-0 VMI run, but the Paladins connected on 12-of-15 free throws over the final 8:35 to hold off the rally and claim their first conference road win of the campaign.
Sibley, who made good on 8-of-16 shots from the field added six boards and five assists to go with his season-high 19 points. Croone hit 10-of-14 free throw attempts to score 18 points and pass former Paladin Chuck Vincent for 10th on Furman's career scoring ledger with 1,686 points. Wideman connected on 3-of-4 three-point attempts to net his season-high 15 points. Kris Acox added nine points and eight boards as Furman compiled a 33-25 edge on the glass.
The Paladins shot 52.4% from the floor and made a season-best 53.3% (8-15) of their three-point tries. Furman overcame 17 turnovers of its own to tally 21 points on 14 VMI turnovers and claim an 18-5 advantage in bench points.
Peterson paced the Keydets with 16 points, while Julian Eleby added 12 points. VMI shot just 39.2% and managed to connect on only 6-of-23 shots from behind the arc.
Winners of two straight, Furman returns to Timmons Arena to put its five-game home winning streak on the line when it hosts Western Carolina on Thursday at 7 p.m. The Paladins will entertain first place ETSU on Saturday at 4 p.m. Both games will be streamed live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
Thursday and Saturday's games can be heard on the Furman IMG Radio Network at WGOG 101.7FM and FoxSports 1440AM, as well as, on your mobile device through the TuneIn Radio app. Links for the video stream, radio broadcast and live statistics will be posted at FurmanPaladins.com.
NOTE: The Coach Niko Medved Show, which usually airs on Monday night, will air on Tuesday, January 26, from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. at Shortfield's Restaurant in Travelers Rest, S.C., because of Furman's game on Monday at VMI.
Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information