Mounce’s 26 lead No. 23 Furman to 93-50 win over UNCW
GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Clay Mounce tied his career high with 26 points and had 10 rebounds as No. 23 Furman ran past UNC Wilmington, moving to 12-0 with a 93-50 victory Saturday.
The Paladins long ago surpassed their best previous start to a season (5-0) and have won 19 of their past 20 games. Next for the team that knocked off defending national champion Villanova and Final Four participant Loyola-Chicago is a trip to LSU, their last significant test before starting Southern Conference play next month.
If Mounce, a 6-foot-7 sophomore, keeps playing like he did against the Seahawks (4-7), the Paladins will be in strong shape.
Mounce had six of Furman’s 17 3-pointers and tied his career best for points set earlier this year in a win over Gardner-Webb. His rebounds were his second-best output this season and he added five assists, two blocks and two steals.
Furman’s leading scorer, Jordan Lyons, who scored zero points against Charleston Southern, rebounded with 16 points off four 3-pointers.
Furman seemed a bit more composed in its second-ever home game as a ranked team. The Paladins struggled to find their rhythm until final 10 minutes of a 77-69 win over Charleston Southern on Tuesday night. This time, they outscored UNC Wilmington 26-13 over the final 10 minutes of the opening half to build a big lead.
Mounce was in the middle of it for Furman, starting the surge with back-to-back 3s. He hit two more from behind the arc and when Matt Rafferty muscled home a layup against two defenders with 15.3 seconds left, the Paladins led 40-21 and were not challenged the rest of the way.
The Seahawks cut the deficit to 43-33 on Jeantal Cylla’s three-point play with 17:11 left. That’s when Furman took off on a 25-9 run to make the game a blowout.
Devontae Cacok had 11 points to lead UNC Wilmington.
Alex Hunter made four 3-pointers and had 14 points, and Rafferty added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Paladins.
THE BIG PICTURE
UNC Wilmington: The Seahawks were in the NCAA Tournament two years ago and played for a Colonial Athletic Conference tournament crown last March before falling to Charleston in overtime in the finals. But UNC Wilmington has had two three-game losing streaks this season and has just two more chances to straighten things out before league play starts with the Cougars on Dec. 29.
Furman: The Paladins have met every test so far and will need to keep firing to make it through LSU of the Southeastern Conference. A blend of outside shooting and strong defense (Furman forced 15 turnovers Saturday) has them playing at a high level.
UNC Wilmington plays at Georgia State on Wednesday night.
Furman visits LSU on Friday night.
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