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Acox, Rafferty Propel Furman Past Presbyterian In Season Opener, 63-53

Matt Rafferty
Matt Rafferty

Highlights // Niko Medved Press Conference

Greenville, S.C. -- Junior Kris Acox and freshman Matt Rafferty each posted a double-double to lead Furman to a 63-53 victory over Presbyterian in the men's basketball season opener for both schools on Friday night at Timmons Arena.

Acox connected on 7-of-11 free throws to finish with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while Rafferty made good on 6-of-9 shots from the field to pace the Paladins with 17 points and 10 boards in his collegiate debut.

Leading 35-33 with under 15:30 remaining, Acox opened an 8-0 run with a pair of free throws and Rafferty followed with three consecutive baskets, the last two on assists from fellow freshman Jonathan Jean, as Furman stretched its advantage to 43-33 with 12 minutes remaining.

PC rallied by holding the Paladins without a field goal for over a 5:30 stretch to cut a 49-38 deficit to 49-43 on DeSean Murray's layup with 5:12 left, but Rafferty answered with a basket on Furman's next possession and Acox went 4-for-4 from the line on the next two offensive possessions. The Blue Hose trimmed the margin back to seven points on Markus Terry's trey with 3:07 to go before Acox finished a three-point play at the foul line with 2:20 remaining to help seal the win as PC could get no closer than eight points the rest of the way.

Furman shot just 34.6% from the field, but made 24-of-39 free throw attempts and out-rebounded the Blue Hose 50-29. The Paladins' 22 offensive rebounds led to a 22-10 advantage in second chance points and the Furman bench managed to outscore PC's reserves 29-13.

Murray led Presbyterian with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting before fouling out after logging only 22 minutes of action. Terry added 10 points for the Blue Hose, who shot 41.5% despite hitting on only 4-of-21 three-point tries.

Sophomore Daniel Fowler contributed eight points and nine rebounds for the Paladins, while John Davis III scored eight points on 5-of-6 shooting at the foul line.

Furman returns to action on Tuesday night when it opens a five-game road trip with a 7 p.m. tip-off against Appalachian State at the Holmes Convocation Center in Boone, N.C.  The contest will be streamed live on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app. Tuesday's game will also air over the Furman IMG Sports Network, headed up by flagship station WGOG 101.7/Walhalla and FoxSports 1440/Greenville.

Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information