Davis, Calif. – Stephen Croone scored 17 points to lead five Paladins in double figures as Furman closed out its non-conference schedule with a 75-65 victory over Big West Conference member UC Davis on Monday night at The Pavilion in Davis, Calif.
The victory improved the Paladins to 6-7 on the season while the Aggies slipped to 4-10.
Leading 29-28 at intermission, Kendrec Ferrara scored eight points, including six straight, to key a 12-2 Furman run to open the half and give the Paladins a 41-30 lead with 12:45 to play. Ferrara, who tallied 14 points on the night, converted a pair of free throws to open the half before draining a jumper in the lane. After a pair of Aggie free throws, Ferrara delivered a one-handed slam on a pass from Croone on the fast break. Croone and William Gates Jr., who netted 10 points off of the bench, hit back-to-back jumpers before Ferrara capped the run with another jumper.
Furman extended its advantage to 14 points at 57-43 with under six minutes remaining. UC Davis rallied to trim the margin to eight points on Ryan Sypkens trey with 1:27 to play, but Larry Wideman converted a layup after breaking the full court pressure and Croone made two free throws following an offensive foul by the Aggies to put the game away.
Wideman and Charlie Reddick scored 15 and 11 points, respectively, to join Croone, Ferrara and Gates in double figures while freshman Kris Acox added eight points and five rebounds. Reddick snagged a team-best seven rebounds and two steals.
The Paladins shot 51.9% from the field and converted on 14-of-17 trips to the charity stripe. Furman managed a 34-30 edge in rebounding, scored 14 second chance points off of 10 offensive rebounds and outscored the Aggies in the paint, 42-22.
Corey Hawkins paced UC Davis with 17 points on 5-of-13 shooting and Sypkens added 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting beyond the arc. Georgi Funtarov and Darius Graham rounded out the Aggies' double digit scorers with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Furman held UC Davis to just 36.8% shooting from the field despite the Aggies' 9-for-24 effort from three-point range.
The Paladins raced out to a 5-0 lead before the Aggies rallied to claim a 20-18 advantage on Sypkens trey with 6:57 left in the first half. Gates erased a two-point deficit with a driving layup and Acox put Furman on top for good with 2:36 to play in the half when he hustled to retrieve a loose ball and dunk to give the Paladins a 25-23 advantage.
Furman returns to Greenville to open Southern Conference play versus Chattanooga on January 4. Tip-off on YP Court at Timmons Arena is slated for 4 p.m. The conference opener can be heard live on WGOG FM 96.3, Fox Sports 1440 AM and through StretchAudio at www.FurmanPaladins.com. Fans can access live in-game updates on Twitter by following @FurmanHoops.