The Bucs didn’t have many answers for the Paladins on Saturday and Furman took a 65-56 victory in a Southern Conference men’s basketball game at Timmons Arena.
Furman beat the Bucs 91-61 last season on its home court. While this one wasn’t as convincing, the Paladins did outrebound, outshoot and generally outplay ETSU.
“We definitely came into the game with a chip on our shoulder wanting to make amends for what happened here a year ago,” ETSU coach Steve Forbes said. “We played a lot harder today than we did last year. I don’t question that.”
The Paladins (13-3, 3-0) won their sixth game in a row. The Bucs (13-3, 2-1) saw their five-game winning streak come to an end.
“Some key times in the game they just made the play and you have to give them credit,” Forbes said. “They were the more aggressive team.”
Furman used a 13-0 run to lead 35-28 at halftime, increased the advantage to 48-40 on a 3-pointer by Alex Hunter with 11:30 remaining and continued to pour it on. The margin got to 55-40 on a basket by Noah Gurley with 9:01 left.
Whatever energy the Bucs had at that point seemed to disappear until Bo Hodges got a steal and a dunk while being fouled. He made the free throw and ETSU scored seven points in a row, cutting the Paladins’ advantage to 55-47.
It was only a brief respite. Hodges had a layup blocked and Jordan Lyons stroked a 3-pointer for a 61-49 Furman lead.
FOUL FROM THE LINE
When Isaiah Tisdale missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with less than a second left in the first half, it was a sign of things to come. ETSU finished 3-for-9 from the free-throw line.
In the two games since scoring 117 points against NCAA Division II Mars Hill, the Bucs have combined for 105.
“We’ve had some offensive issues, which going into Christmas we didn’t have,” Forbes said.
“Some of it is the defense has gotten better but a lot of it is us, and it’s my job to prepare this team and get them to play better,” he added.
BY THE NUMBERS
For the second game in a row, the Bucs had just one player score in double figures. This time it was Bo Hodges with 12 points. He needed 13 shots and hit 2 of 7 attempts from the foul line.
Furman won the battle of the boards 41-28, which was surprising considering ETSU was the top rebounding team in the conference.
Lyons led the Paladins with 14 points, and Gurley had 10 points and 12 rebounds. Clay Mounce and Tre Clark each had 10 points as well.
Furman shot 46% from the field, including 7-for-21 from 3-point range.
The Bucs shot 40% and finished 5-for-23 from deep.
The Bucs play at UNC Greensboro on Wednesday night in another big SoCon showdown. Furman will be at Chattanooga that same night.