By: Sammy Clough, Sports Editor
Both Furman men’s and women’s basketball lost hard fought battles against rival Wofford Saturday as conference season nears its end.
The Paladin women traveled to Spartanburg Saturday to face the Terriers for the second time this season. In their first matchup at Timmons Arena, Furman defeated Wofford by a score of 63-50 thanks to strong lockdown defense and a strong fourth quarter.
The first game, which took place in early January, marked the start of the Paladin’s improved defense. In the second quarter, Furman held Wofford to just one point. Later that week, the Paladins faced Samford in which Furman shut out the Bulldogs in the first quarter of the game.
The defense was not enough Saturday, however, as the Terriers put up 84 points to defeat Furman by nine.
Wofford shot an impressive 60 percent from the field in the first half to give the Terriers a 47-32 lead going into the locker room.
Furman came out strong in the second half, tearing off a 19-5 run to cut the Terriers lead to just one. After what looked like a go-ahead three pointer from Le’Jzae Davidson was called off due to an offensive foul, the Paladins could not recover.
An impressive effort from Wofford point guard Da’Ja Green made the difference in the defeat of the Paladins. Green made 6-of-7 shots from the field including 9-of-10 free throws to total 24 points in the game.
Down the street the Paladins’ home Timmons Arena, the men’s team also faced Wofford in a game marketed as “the biggest game in Timmons Arena history.”
Furman entered the game 11-4 in conference play with a share of third place in the Southern Conference.
The Terriers came to Greenville with an undefeated SoCon record, and looked for the season sweep against the Paladins.
Prior to tipoff, Furman senior Matt Rafferty, Andrew Brown, Jalen Williams and Brady Schuck were honored for their time in purple. The senior class will graduate as the winningest class in Furman basketball history.
As the back-and-forth contest between the SoCon powerhouses got underway, the Terrier’s outside shooting was too much for Furman to handle.
Rafferty’s game high 24 points were not enough for the Paladins, as Wofford senior Fletcher Magee scored 23 points of his own to give the Terriers a 72-64 win, and only Furman’s second home loss of the season.
With the SoCon tournament on the horizon, both the men’s and women’s teams will look to solidify their seeding among the top in the conference.
The women travel to Mercer and Samford to end the season and the men will travel to Samford and Chattanooga before both teams head to Asheville, N.C. for the Southern Conference tournament.