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1:30 PM PT2:30 PM MT3:30 PM CT4:30 PM ET9:30 PM GMT5:30 PM 北京时间2:30 PM MST4:30 PM EST, Dec 8, 2018
G.B. Hodge Center, Spartanburg, South Carolina  Attendance: 833

No. 25 Furman looking to improve against S.C. Upstate

Furman coach Bob Richey is happy for the exposure his team has gotten by climbing into the Top 25 for the first time in school history.

But he also wants his No. 25 Paladins, who face South Carolina Upstate on Saturday in Spartanburg, S.C., to concentrate on their goals.

"The responsibility is we focus on the task at hand, we focus on improvement, we focus on getting better," Richey said, according to the (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier. "We focus on being the best version of ourselves that we can. And we keep it about that.

"The second you get away from that and start falling in love with all the things that come with this exposure, then I think that's when you're going to quickly find yourself on your back."

Furman (9-0, 1-0 Southern Conference), which was picked fourth in its league, rose to these unprecedented heights thanks to wins over two of last season's Final Four teams.

The Paladins beat 2017-18's Cinderella team, Loyola-Chicago, and then defending national champion Villanova.

But the task at hand involves the Spartans (2-7), whose comeback bid against Eastern Kentucky fell just short in a 79-77 loss on Wednesday. Prior to that, SC Upstate secured its first win this season over a Division I opponent with 71-66 victory at Western Michigan.

The Spartans, under first-year head coach Dave Dickerson, have moved to the Big South Conference this season.

Though the conference schedule doesn't start until January, Dickerson's team got a taste of it last week.

The Spartans lost 74-61 to new conference rival Gardner-Webb. Because the game had been scheduled prior to SC Upstate's move to the Big South, it didn't count as a conference game.

The Spartans are young, and Dickerson is still tweaking his rotation.

"We're playing seven freshmen," Dickerson told the Spartanburg (S.C.) Herald-Journal. "And right now, they are not good enough to overcome all the mistakes. We have a lot of work to do. We have to instill a winning mentality that was lost in this program. We have to get that back. We can get that back through coaching, through teaching and through learning from mistakes. Our seniors have to do most of that and they're not doing a great job of it right now."

Saturday will be the first time SC Upstate has ever hosted a ranked opponent.

Furman, which beat Elon 98-77 on Monday after its Top 25 debut, returns home to face Charleston Southern and UNC Wilmington next week before a test at LSU, which was ranked 19th before back-to-back losses to Florida State and Oklahoma State.

Updated December 8, 2018

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