No. 23 Furman ready to face Charleston Southern
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No. 23 Furman's second week in the Top 25 will begin with a familiar face on the opposite bench.
Paladins coach Bob Richey is a former assistant to Charleston Southern coach Barclay Radebaugh.
Furman hosts the Buccaneers on Tuesday at Timmons Arena in Greenville, S.C.
"Bob got his start here, as a volunteer, and to see what he has been able to do makes us all very proud," Radebaugh told the (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier. "I am looking forward to seeing Bob but maybe not looking forward to playing their team. They're a very good team."
The Paladins (10-0, 1-0 Southern Conference) are also young.
There are five freshmen and three sophomores -- including 6-foot-7 forward Clay Mounce, whose dunk was the game-winner against Loyola-Chicago -- on Richey's team. But they are led by two upperclassmen.
Junior Jordan Lyons, the team leader with 20.2 points per game, and senior Matt Rafferty have combined to lead Furman in scoring in nine of the team's 10 games.
Rafferty, who's averaging 17.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game, knows helping the younger people is part of his role.
"It's kind of my job to stay even keel," he told the Greenville News. "Throughout this season, we're going to have a bunch of ups and downs."
Rafferty, a 6-8 forward, had 15 points and 17 rebounds in the Paladins' upset of defending national champion Villanova last month.
"He's a ballplayer," Richey said. "He's a winner. He's a big-time teammate."
Charleston Southern (4-4), which has lost its last two and is 0-3 on the road this season, has had 10 days off for finals since a 76-70 loss to North Florida.
The Buccaneers came from down nine to take a 65-60 lead with 6:37 left but were outscored 16-5 the rest of the way.
Charleston Southern was just 6-for-24 from deep and 10-for-18 from the free-throw line, and North Florida had a 37 percent offensive rebounding rate.
"North Florida is a very experienced team, and they made the plays down the stretch that we couldn't make," Radebaugh said, according to the Post and Courier. "I thought our guys played extremely hard. I thought we got hurt on the boards. We got to the free throw line but were unable to make them."
Junior guard Christian Keeling leads Charleston Southern with 19.5 points and 4.5 assists per game but is shooting just 30 percent from 3-point range and has missed eight of his past 10 attempts.
Furman hosts UNC Wilmington on Saturday before a Dec. 21 test at LSU.
Updated December 11, 2018