CULLOWHEE, N.C. – The Western Carolina men’s basketball team was held to a season-low 45 points in a 64-45 setback to Furman on Thursday night at the Liston B. Ramsey Regional Activity Center.
Furman improves to 19-5 overall and 8-4 in the Southern Conference while Western Carolina drops to 6-19 and 3-9.
Marcus Thomas finished in double figures for the third straight game with a 16-point effort off the bench and had a career-high two blocks. Kameron Gibson finished in double figures for the 17th time this season with 10 points. Carlos Dotson had a game-high 14 rebounds.
Matt Rafferty led Furman with a double-double thanks to 15 points and 10 rebounds. Noah Gurley added 14 points followed by Alex Hunter with 10. Mike Bothwell and Clay Mounce each had three steals.
The opening 2:10 was scoreless before a driving layup by Steger got the Catamounts on the board. Furman answered with a 14-0 run capped by a Gurley 3-pointer at the 10:44 mark. The Catamounts pulled to within eight, 16-8, following a Thomas 3-pointer with 5:45 to play. The Paladins rolled off six straight points before Dotson made the second of two free throw attempts with 2:10 remaining. Furman led 26-13 at halftime.
After a Rafferty layup pushed the Paladin lead to 15, 28-13, the Catamounts pulled within 10, 30-20, following a Gibson jumper at the 18:21 mark. The Paladins answered with a 9-2 run as a Bothwell bucket gave the visitors a 39-22 edge with just over 15 minutes to play. A three-point play by Gurley gave Furman a game-high 25-point advantage, 54-29, just before the eight-minute media timeout. Matt Halvorsen was fouled on a made 3-point attempt and sank the ensuing free throw to make the score 58-42 with 2:39 remaining but the Catamounts would get no closer.
Furman went 23-for-57 (40.4 percent) from the field while the Catamounts were 16-for-51 (31.4 percent) from the field. The 31.4 shooting percentage is a season-low for WCU. Both teams finished with 37 rebounds.
Western Carolina travels to Wofford on Saturday for a 7 p.m. tip-off.