Written by Kristen Janes, Staff Writer
Furman basketball spent the first weekend of the new year in Downtown Greenville at Bon Secours Wellness Arena. The men’s team was handed their first Southern Conference loss against UNCG, but the women’s team claimed a win over Samford and moved to an impressive 11-5 record.
The lady Paladins excelled at their home away from home, with four different Paladins reaching double figures in the game. Le’Jzae Davidson reached a career-high 18 points, going 5 for 8 on free throws with three 3-pointers. Tierra Hodges, the most recent Women’s Basketball Player of the Month, had 16 points and 13 rebounds, making this her fifth double-double game in a row. On the defensive side, Junior Celena Taborn tallied five blocks, matching her previous game record. The women’s squad played confidently and consistently to lead at halftime, and continued to hold a double-digit lead for much of the second half. Their win over Samford puts the Paladins on a four-game winning streak, and makes them undefeated in their opening SoCon games.
In their second game at the wellness arena, the men’s team fell to UNCG in their first Southern Conference loss. With success late in the second half, Mike Bothwell started off a 13-5 run for the Paladins, but it was not enough to hold off the Spartans. With 17 turnovers and a less-than-impressive percentage at the free- throw line, the Paladin’s lacking performance was a surprise after last season’s dominance and a 14-3 starting record on the current season. With peers and fans back on campus, the Paladins returned home for an impressive win over Western Carolina and claimed the first seed in the Southern Conference.
To finish their first week back on campus, both teams traveled for more Southern Conference play. The women traveled back and forth to Tennessee for a strong win over East Tennessee State and a close loss to Chattanooga on Saturday night. The men faced off against SoCon rival Wofford and fell 66-52 in Spartanburg.
Despite an inconsistent record, Furman’s overall success has placed Jordan Lyons on the Lou Henson Award midseason watch list. The award is presented to the nation’s top Division 1 mid-major player. Both teams will finish their seasons with heavy SoCon play, hoping to advance to the finals and play for a chance at the National Invitation Tournament and Women’s Invitation Tournament, or an NCAA tournament bid.