Lyons leads Furman to stunning upset of No. 8 Villanova
VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) — Jordan Lyons scored 17 points, Matt Rafferty and Clay Mounce each had 15, and Furman stunned defending national champion Villanova in overtime, 76-68, on Saturday.
Noah Gurley and Alex Hunter added 13 points apiece for the surging Paladins, who have started 5-0 for the first time in 30 years.
Phil Booth scored 20 points and Colin Gillespie had 19 for the No. 8 Wildcats, who were coming off a 27-point loss to Michigan in a rematch of April’s national championship game. It marked the first time Villanova lost back-to-back home games since December of 2013.
Lyons and Rafferty delivered huge buckets in overtime to key a 7-0 spurt that put the Paladins ahead 69-63 in the final minute, enough cushion for them to hang on for the victory in front of a shocked sellout crowd at the recently renovated Finneran Pavilion.
Trailing 58-53 with under four minutes to play in regulation, Joe Cremo hit a 3-pointer, Booth scored and Gillespie made a layup in transition to put Villanova in front, 60-58, in the final minute.
After Lyons hit two free throws to tie the game at 60, Booth missed on the other end and Hunter misfired on a long 3-pointer in the final seconds. Cremo was called for a foul while going for the rebound, but Rafferty couldn’t connect on the front end of a 1-and-1 with 2.6 seconds left, setting the game up for OT.
Two days after pouring in 54 points while matching an NCAA record with 15 3-pointers, Lyons had a slew of big buckets, including one that put Furman ahead 48-46 with a little over 8 minutes remaining.
After Booth scored five straight points for ’Nova, Hunter tied it back up with a 3-pointer before Furman pulled ahead 55-51 on four straight points from Gurley. Another big 3 from Hunter gave the Paladins a five-point lead with just over four minutes to play as Furman looked completely unfazed by Villanova’s notoriously hostile home venue.
Furman: The Paladins are looking to be a dominant mid-major squad and big-team killer. In their only other road game of the season, they upset another 2018 Final Four participant, Loyola-Chicago, on a last-second dunk.
Villanova: After losing four players from last year’s national championship squad to the NBA draft, coach Jay Wright continues to search for his best rotation. On Saturday, freshman Jahvon Quinerly, a five-star recruit, didn’t get in the game after playing key minutes in Villanova’s first three games. The Wildcats’ depth took a hit Friday when the team announced that redshirt sophomore Dylan Painter will transfer.
Furman hosts Southern Wesleyan on Wednesday.
Villanova faces Canisius in the Advocare Invitational in Orlando on Thanksgiving.
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