ETSU, Furman to meet in SoCon semifinals
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 03/03/2018
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Furman's Daniel Fowler
Courtesy: Southern Conference

No. 2 ETSU 77, No. 10 Chattanooga 59

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Jalan McCloud scored 22 points to lead four Bucs in double figures and No. 2 seed ETSU shot 58 percent from the floor to down No. 10 seed Chattanooga, 77-59, in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Basketball Championship presented by General Shale at the U.S. Cellular Center on Saturday.

ETSU advances to Sunday's tournament semifinals, where it will face either No. 3 seed Furman or No. 6 Western Carolina, who face off in Saturday’s final quarterfinal contest at 8:30 p.m.

A 12-0 run by the Bucs shortly into the second half blew open a tight game. After a Joshua Phillips jumper a minute into the second frame pulled Chattanooga to within five at 38-33, ETSU got buckets from four different players in the spurt, which covered the next five minutes. McCloud and Peter Jurkin had four points apiece in the run, which made it a 50-33 contest.

The Mocs got the lead back into single digits just once after that, when Makale Foreman drained three free throws with 10:41 remaining to punctuate a 12-4 UTC run and make it a 54-45. A McCloud layup on ETSU’s next possession put the Bucs’ lead back in double figures to stay.

In a tightly contested first half, Chattanooga shot 50 percent from the floor (11-for-22) and held a one-point lead with just under four minutes to play in the first half. The Bucs responded with a 9-1 run to close the half, however, capped by McCloud’s layup as time expired, to take a 38-31 lead into the break.

SoCon Player of the Year Desonta Bradford joined McCloud in double figures with 14 points, while SoCon Freshman of the Year Bo Hodges and Jurkin each had 12.

Foreman and Makinde London led Chattanooga with 13 each.

ETSU: 24-8
Chattanooga: 10-23

The Bucs advance to the semifinals for the third straight season and the 16th overall … ETSU has advanced to the final in each of the last two seasons.

Chattanooga falls to 3-2 against ETSU in the SoCon tournament quarterfinals.

3 stats to know …
- Chattanooga shot as well from the floor in the first half as it did from the free-throw line for the game (11-for-22).
- ETSU was 35-for-60 (58.3 percent) from the floor despite a 2-for-13 (15.4 percent) effort from 3-point range. It was the third time this season the Bucs had shot less than 20 percent from long range.
- In three wins in as many meetings this season, the Bucs’ margin of victory over the Mocs was 19.0 points per game.

No. 3 Furman 97, Western Carolina 73

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – No. 3 seed Furman utilized a balanced offensive attack and hot shooting from the floor to race past No. 6 Western Carolina 97-73 Saturday night in the quarterfinals of the 2018 Southern Conference Championship presented by General Shale. Daniel Fowler led all scorers with 18 points as the Paladins connected on 56 percent (33-of-59) of their field goals in the win. The Paladins will face No. 3 ETSU in the semifinals Sunday at 6:30 p.m.

Fowler led five Paladins in double figures as Jordan Lyons added 15 points, while Matt Rafferty added 14. John Davis III scored 12 for Furman and Alex Hunter poured in 10 for the Paladins, who scored 17 more points than their season average (79.7 ppg).

Marcus Thomas led the Catamounts with 17 points and pulled down six rebounds while Mike Amius tallied 16 points and three assists. Western Carolina was limited to 44-percent shooting and committed 14 turnovers, compared to just eight for Furman.

Furman held a 46-34 advantage in points in the paint and scored 38 of its points off the bench.

Furman 23-9
Western Carolina 13-19

Saturday’s game was the first matchup between the Paladins and Catamounts in the conference tournament since the 2004 championship. Furman is now 4-0 in tournament games against WCU.

The Paladins have advanced to the tournament semifinals three times in the last four years (2015, 2016, 2018). Furman is 10-15 all-time in the tournament semifinals but has posted a winning record (6-4) when the Paladins have advanced to the tournament final.

Furman’s 24-point win was its fourth-largest margin of victory in a Southern Conference tournament game. The Paladins’ most convincing victory was a 126-80 win over VMI in 1972.

WCU’s 73 points was the second-highest total scored by the Catamounts in a losing effort this season. WCU dropped an 85-76 decision at UMass on Nov. 21.

The four teams that advanced to Sunday evening’s semifinal have all won at least 20 games this season (ETSU, Furman, UNCG and Wofford). ETSU and Furman split their season series, while UNCG swept the Terriers.

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