Furman routs Bulldogs, 95-75

Staff report

GREENVILLE -- Furman’s basketball team has been nearly perfect at home this season, and showed The Citadel why on Thursday night.

Freshman Matt Rafferty scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Paladins to a 95-75 rout of the Bulldogs at Timmons Arena.

Furman is 12-1 at home with nine straight wins, and improved to 16-11 overall and 10-4 in the Southern Conference. The Citadel, led by 17 points from freshman Connor Schroeder, lost its fourth straight to fall to 10-16 and 3-10.

The Citadel had beaten Furman, 89-86, last month at McAlister Field House, adding to coach Duggar Baucom’s frustration.

“Any time you have beaten a team, you know that physically, it can be done,” he said. “So that was discouraging.”

Furman held the Bulldogs 13 points below their Division I leading average, blocking five shots and limiting The Citadel to 35-percent shooting from the field.

“They crowd the 3-point line and will concede you driving,” Baucom said. “And then they have something we don’t have, some shot-blockers down there.

“The way they guard you, you’ve got to knock down shots when you’re open, and we struggled to do that.”

Guard Stephen Croone scored 16 points for Furman, which shot 52 percent from the field. Kris Acox added 12 points.

For The Citadel, point guard P.J. Boutte scored 15 points, and Warren Sledge and Derrick Henry had 11 each.

The Citadel trailed 31-26 with 4:19 left in the first half before Furman closed the half on an 11-0 run for a 42-26 lead at the break.

Freshman guard Andrew Brown hit two treys and Croone added another during that stretch. The Bulldogs missed five shots and turned the ball over three times during the run.

“Our offense was so bad, they got some runouts and some uncontested threes,” Baucom said. “We couldn’t get the guys you of there fast enough, they were turning it over and doing crazy stuff.”

The Citadel plays Saturday at Wofford, 13-13 overall and 9-4 in the SoCon after a 79-70 win over Mercer on Thursday.

“Your hope this time of year is that you are playing better,” Baucom said. “We are not there, but Wofford is playing well right now and so is Furman.”