Furman, ranked No. 4 in the latest College Insider Mid-Major Top 25 and a SoCon-best No. 49 in the latest NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) Rankings, opens a two-game road trip on Wednesday evening when it faces the VMI Keydets at Cameron Hall in Lexington, Va.
The first place Paladins are in search of their first 5-0 start in Southern Conference play since the 1979-80 season when they won 11 straight games to open league play en route to claiming both the SoCon regular season and tournament titles.
This past Saturday, Furman claimed its 19th straight win at Timmons Arena and improved to 4-0 in SoCon play with a 78-66 win over ETSU, who entered the game undefeated in league play. The victory marked the fifth in the last six meetings versus the Bucs inside Timmons.
Junior Mike Bothwell comes into Wednesday’s game at VMI leading Furman in scoring (18.8 ppg), rebounding (5.6 rpg), assists (3.8 apg) and steals per game (2.0 spg). The Cleveland Heights, Ohio, native poured in a career-high 32 points in Saturday’s 78-66 win over ETSU.
Head coach Bob Richey (83-28), now in his fourth year, ranks in the top 10 among active NCAA Division I coaches with a .748 winning percentage.
The Paladins boast one of the most experienced starting lineups in the country with two seniors and three juniors. The lineup of senior Alex Hunter, junior Mike Bothwell, fifth-year senior Clay Mounce, redshirt-junior Noah Gurley and junior Jalen Slawson have combined to appear in 441 games and record 284 starts in the purple and white.
Clay Mounce (16.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg) grabbed two rebounds in a Dec. 15 loss at Alabama to reach 500 for his career and become just the 10th player in school history with 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and 150 assists in a career. Mounce currently ranks 37th in school history with 1,132 career points.
Furman vs. VMI Series
Saturday’s game will mark the 101st meeting between Furman and VMI with the Paladins holding a 66-34 all-time series lead.
The Paladins have won 10 straight in the series and have swept the yearly home-and-home series with the Keydets in each of the past five seasons.
Last season, Jordan Lyons connected on 10 triples and scored 40 points in an 89-73 victory over the Keydets in Lexington, Va., on New Year’s Day before Lyons’ three-pointer in the final seconds of regulation helped the Paladins to force overtime in an eventual 74-72 triumph at Timmons Arena on January 29, 2020.
VMI’s last victories over the Paladins came in a season sweep during the 2014-15 campaign.
Head coach Bob Richey is 6-0 all-time versus the Keydets.
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