CLINTON, S.C.—Senior forward Al'onzo Coleman posted a game-high 24 points and Presbyterian connected on all 19 of its second-half charity shots, as the Blue Hose posted their first win over the Furman Paladins since February of 1989, with a 75-71 victory on Tuesday night at Templeton Arena.
With the win, PC improved to 5-5 on the season, while Furman had its three-game winning streak snapped, making them 6-5. Coleman connected on 8-of-12 shots from the field and ripped down 11 rebounds to finish off his double-double effort before fouling out with two minutes to play.
Coleman was also 8-of-9 from the charity stripe on a night when the Blue Hose were a near-flawless 26-of-28 from the free throw line.
It appeared PC was going to run away with a double-digit victory, leading 73-63 with three minutes to play. However, the young Paladins would mount a furious rally.
Furman would reel off eight straight points, to cut the Blue Hose lead to 73-71. Dominic Early started the run by making the first of two free throws.
Brandon Sebirumbi grabbed the rebound on Early's missed second free throw and kicked it out to a wide open Jordan Lloyd, missed a three from the top of the key.
The scrappy Sebirumbi got his second rebound in quick succession off the Lloyd miss and made a short lay-up to cut the Blue Hose lead to seven, at 73-66.
It would be the freshman Lloyd that would come up with a huge play on the defensive end on the ensuing possession, as he stole the ball away from Blue Hose guard Pierre Moore and was fouled.
He stepped to the charity stripe and knocked down both of his double-bonus free throws, cutting the Paladin deficit to five, at 73-68.
The Blue Hose would run the clock on the ensuing possession, milking the shot clock down to nearly zero before Josh Johnson's three-pointer from the top of the key came off the back iron, and the ball went out of bounds in the corner off of the Blue Hose.
On the ensuing Paladin possession, Lloyd would knock down maybe the biggest shot of his young Furman career, stroking a three from the top of the key, which brought the Paladins to within a bucket (73-71) with 43 seconds to play.
After another missed shot underneath the basket, Lloyd would grab the rebound for the Paladins. In an effort to hit a streaking Bobby Austin, who was running free 80 feet down the floor, the ball was over-thrown on the attempted run-out pass and the ball went out of play. Turnover for the Paladins.
The Blue Hose took possession of the basketball on their own end with 5.2 seconds remaining, and Furman was forced to foul speedy PC point guard Eric Washington with 2.3 seconds remaining. T
he true freshman showed plenty of composure in stepping to the charity stripe and knocked down both foul shots ease, delivering the four-point, 75-71, PC win.
It was Furman that controlled the opening half, leading by as many as nine points (37-28), before seeing the Blue Hose usurp the momentum of the basketball game in the final four minutes of the opening frame.
PC would end the half with a 5-0 run, cutting Furman's lead to four (37-33) at the break. That run would continue into the second half, eventually reaching 19-5, in the opening five minutes of the second half, as PC would overtake the Paladins to lead 47-42, with 15:14 to play.
From that point, the Paladins would make a run back at the home-standing Blue Hose, with a 10-4 run of their own, regaining the lead, 52-51, on an old fashioned three-point play from Brandon Sebirumbi with 11:47 to play.
But that would be the last lead the Paladins would enjoy for the remainder of the night, as PC would put together a 10-0 run to take control of the game until the furious Furman rally in the waning moments.
Furman enjoyed its best shooting performance of the season, knocking down 52.2% (24-of-45) of its shots for the game and taking relatively good care of the basketball, turning it over just 14 times in the contest against a tenacious PC defense.
Furman, however, was plagued by foul trouble for most of the evening, especially in the front court.
Furman was able to connect on 70.8% (17-of-24) charity shots, while shooting 46.2% (6-of-13) from three-point range in the contest. Furman was out-rebounded by just one, 24-23.
Furman was led by a pair of players in double figures, as Brandon Sebirumbi led the way with a career-high 20 points, marking the second-straight game Furman's leading scorer has also established a new career-high.
Sebirumbi's 20 points eclipsed his previous career standard of 16 points set nearly a year ago to the day, as he posted that total on Dec. 18 of 2010 in a win at North Florida. Sebirumbi connected on 7-of-9 shots from the field and 6-of-8 shots from the charity stripe.
Senior forward Bryson Barnes was the only other Paladin in double figures, posting 10 points and five boards. Barnes has scored in double figures in both his outings this season. His 10-point effort this evening comes on the heels of a career-high 26-point and 11-rebound effort in the 76-63 win at Western Kentucky on Saturday night.
Lloyd just missed double figures, but the freshman guard from Atlanta established a new career-high with nine points on the evening.
PC's Coleman was joined in double figures by senior guard Khalid Mutakabbir, who added 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field.
PC held advantages in points in the paint (40-28) and second chance points (12-6). For the game, the Blue Hose connected on 46.7% (23-of-49) from the field, but were just 23.1% (3-of-13) from three-point range.
The Blue Hose made up for that with there performance at the free throw line.
Furman returns to action on Friday afternoon when they visit the Georgia Bulldogs. Tip-off for that contest is set for 7 p.m.
It will be the first meeting between the Paladins and Bulldogs since Nov. of 2001, as the Paladins dropped a 75-62 decision in the season opener in Athens.
The Paladins are 4-21 all-time against the Bulldogs.