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Undefeated Furman Hosts Western Carolina In Saturday SoCon Men’s Basketball Opener

Alex Hunter
Alex Hunter

Furman vs. WCU Game Notes

Greenville, S.C. -- The undefeated Furman men's basketball team begins Southern Conference play on Saturday afternoon when it hosts the Western Carolina Catamounts in a 4 p.m. contest at Timmons Arena.

Tickets for the SoCon opener are available online at FurmanPaladins.com and can also be purchased at the Timmons Arena Box Office. The first 300 Furman students into Timmons Arena on Saturday will receive a limited edition Furman Basketball t-shirt.

Saturday's contest will be streamed live on ESPN+ and can be heard on the Furman IMG Sports Network on FoxSports 1440AM, through Stretch Audio at FurmanPaladins.com and via the TuneIn Radio app. Dan Scott, the Voice of the Paladins, will handle play-by-play duties with Bryant Lambert providing color commentary.

The 7-0 Paladins enter Saturday ranked No. 4 in this week's CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25. Furman received the 28th most votes in Monday's Associated Press Top 25 and 31st most in the USA Today Coaches Poll.

On Sunday, Furman wrapped up a perfect November and claimed its 14th victory in its last 15 outings dating back to last season with a 65-51 win at defending Big South Conference Champion UNC Asheville. Senior Matt Rafferty led the way with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while junior Jordan Lyons added 18 points. The victory made Furman one of just five teams in the nation to register three true road wins during the month of November and Asheville's 51 points represented the fewest allowed by the Paladins in a road contest since a 60-49 win at North Florida on December 18, 2010.

Rafferty, who garnered preseason All-SoCon honors in October after being named third team All-SoCon last year, has averaged 18.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game this season. He ranks in the top 10 in the SoCon in scoring (4th), rebounding (4th), assists per game (3rd), steals per game (5th), blocked shots per game (5th), field goal percentage (2nd) and free throw percentage (9th), while also leading the league in assist-to-turnover ratio.

Saturday's showdown in Timmons Arena will mark the 74th all-time meeting between Furman and Western Carolina with the Paladins boasting a 44-29 series lead. The Paladins have won five straight in the series, including a 97-73 win over the Catamounts in the quarterfinal round of last season's SoCon Tournament. Western Carolina enters the SoCon opener at 2-6 following a loss at Wake Forest on Tuesday night.