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Paladins Drop Regular Season Finale At Western Carolina, 73-62

Devin Sibley
Devin Sibley

Cullowhee, N.C. -- Mike Brown and Torrion Brummitt tallied 19 points apiece and Rhett Harrelson came off the bench to add 11 points as Western Carolina downed Furman, 73-62, in the regular season finale for both teams on Saturday afternoon at the Ramsey Center in Cullowhee, N.C.

Western Carolina (15-16, 10-8 SoCon) won for the seventh time in its last eight outings and secured the No. 5 seed for next weekend's Southern Conference Men's Basketball Championship in Asheville, N.C., while Furman (17-14, 11-7 SoCon) earned the No. 3 seed despite suffering its third consecutive defeat. The Paladins will play the No. 6 seed at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 5, at the U.S. Cellular Center.

The lead changed hands eight times in the first half before Stephen Croone's late three-pointer helped the Paladins carry a 28-27 lead to intermission. A Daniel Fowler free throw and Croone three-pointer widened the Paladins' lead to 32-27 with 18:54 to play, but Western Carolina outscored Furman 13-2 over the next 4:30 while holding the visitors without a field goal.

Trailing by seven points at 56-49 with under 8:30 remaining, Furman used a 6-0 run to pull within a point before being held without a field goal for 5:40. The Paladin scoring drought allowed the Catamounts to go on a 12-2 run to open up a 68-57 margin on Justin Browning's free throw with 1:53 to play.

A three-point play by Croone and layup from Devin Sibley quickly cut the Catamount lead back to six points, but Western Carolina held Furman scoreless for the final minute to pull away.

The Catamounts shot 51% from the field and connected on 9-of-20 three-point tries to go with a 34-27 rebounding edge.

Furman made good on just 38.8% of its shots, including 7-of-23 from long range. Sibley hit 9-of-15 shots from the field and 4-of-8 from three-point range to pace the Paladins with 24 points. Croone scored 18 points on 10-of-11 shooting at the foul line, while junior Kris Acox posted a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards.

The full SoCon Men's Basketball Championship bracket will be posted by the league office at the conclusion of the regular season, which includes games between Mercer and UNCG on Sunday and Chattanooga and VMI on Monday.

Next Saturday's game and all Furman action in the postseason 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. All tournament games will also be streamed live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. Links for the video stream, radio broadcast and live statistics are be posted at FurmanPaladins.com.


Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information