Game 5 - No. 7 Samford 67, No. 2 Furman 63
Box Score // Quotes
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Christen Cunningham’s free throw with 4.3 seconds remaining put the bow on a 67-63 Samford win over Furman Saturday in the Southern Conference Championships presented by General Shale. The seventh-seeded Bulldogs pulled the first upset of the tournament topping the regular season co-champions.
Samford had an 11-point advantage with 1:09 to go, 63-52, on two Cunningham free throws. It got interesting from there.
Geoff Beans got the deficit to single digits with two from the charity stripe eight ticks later. Samford missed six of eight free throws on their next four possessions opening the door for the Paladins.
Furman got back-to-back threes from Daniel Fowler and Sibley to get within three, 63-60, with the clock winding down inside 30 seconds. The Paladins missed two free tosses of their own just inside 20 seconds remaining but got a break with the ball going out of bounds after the second miss.
There was a scramble out top with SoCon steals leader Josh Sharkey making his one for the game. Two free throws later, it was a 66-60 advantage with the clock ticking toward the 10-second mark.
Sibley scored his 30th point with a top of the key three with nine seconds to go to slice it to three, 66-63. That set up Cunningham sealing the deal with 4.3 to go.
Cunningham paced Samford with 17 points and eight assists. Wyatt Walker and Alex Thompson each recorded double-doubles. Walker had 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Thompson chipped in 10 and 11. SoCon Player of the Year Devin Sibley had 30 points for the Paladins. Andrew Brown added 11 points and nine rebounds.
The Bulldogs head to the semifinals facing the winner of the night cap between ETSU and Mercer. The semis start at 5 p.m., Sunday with No. 1 UNCG against No. 5 Wofford. The second contest is at 7:30 p.m., on ESPN3 (WatchESPN App).
Samford (19-14) | Furman (21-11)
Furman: Attempted a season-high 40 3pt shots making 30 percent (12)…shot 30.8 percent (8-26) inside the arc.
Samford: Doubled the Paladins in free throw attempts 32 to 16 but shot just 59.4 percent, the third lowest percentage of the campaign.
Furman: The 30-point effort by Sibley was his second of the season behind a career-best 32 at The Citadel on Feb. 4.
Samford: Wyatt Walker turned in his 15th double-double in 31 contests. He entered the day No. 24 in the nation in double-doubles.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Three seed ETSU earned a 73-66 win over No. 6 Mercer in the quarterfinals of the Southern Conference Basketball Championships presented by General Shale. Desonta Bradford scored 13 of his game-high 21 points to vault the Bucs to victory.
Mercer led by 13 early in the contest. An 11-2 run to end the first frame cut the margin to one, 35-34, heading into intermission.
ETSU took the lead for good on a Bradford three-point play with 11:21 to go. It ignited an 11-0 run capped nearly three-and-a-half minutes later on a Bradford dunk for a 56-45 advantage. The final margin of seven was the closest the Bears came the rest of the way.
Bradford added five rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Tevin Glass chipped in 15 points and three blocks. Demetre Rivers led the Bears with 18.
The Bucs meet No. 7 Samford in Sunday’s second semifinal matchup. Game time is 7:30 p.m., on ESPN3 (WatchESPN App).
ETSU (25-7) | Mercer (15-17)
ETSU: 11 blocks is a season high. Held the Bears to 29.2 percent (14-48) shooting after a torrid 8-13 (.615) start.
Mercer: Made just eight of 29 (.276) of its field goal attempts in the second half. That included two of nine (,222) from 3pt range after making six of 14 (.429).
ETSU: Making 15th semifinal appearance (9-5)…that’s third among current league members behind Furman (25) and Chattanooga (23) breaking a tie with Western Carolina (14).
Mercer: -2 rebounding margin…2-8 when out-rebounded this season.