SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Jordan Lyons had 20 points and Noah Gurley added 15 points and six rebounds to lead No. 25 Furman to a 74-60 win over South Carolina Upstate on Saturday.

The surprise mid-major of the season, the Paladins (10-0) got through the program’s first-ever week in the AP Top 25 unscathed after a slow start.

Upstate (2-8) led 34-30 at half and appeared ready to have the crowd in its cozy gym explode after Malik Moore stole a pass on Furman’s first possession of the second half. But he missed a fast-break dunk and Gurley made a layup and a free throw to start a 24-5 run.

Southern Conference Player of the Month Matt Rafferty finished with 11 points after scoring just two in the first half. He had two key steals and an assist as Furman scored on six of its first eight possessions after halftime.

Moore led the Spartans with 24 points and 11 rebounds.

It was the first time Upstate has ever hosted a Top 25 opponent at its 833-seat G.B. Hodge Center.


Furman’s Clay Mounce battles for possession while defended by South Carolina Upstate’s Josh Aldrich during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, in Spartanburg, S.C. (Richard Shiro/Associated Press)

BIG PICTURE

Furman: The Paladins are one of 10 unbeaten teams remaining in Division I. After leading wire-to-wire in a win Tuesday at Elon, the Paladins were back to their more customary slower starts. They only led for 5:45 of the first half. At least Furman got it done in regulation. Three of the Paladins’ 10 games have gone to overtime.

USC Upstate: The Spartans have never beaten a ranked team. After shooting 43.8 percent (14 of 32) in the first half, Upstate shot 32 percent (8 of 25) in the second half and turned the ball over 10 times in the final 20 minutes.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Furman squeaked into the AP Top 25 by a single point, but the Paladins should stay in the poll after going 2-0 this week combined with losses in Big Ten play by No. 24 Nebraska and No. 23 Maryland.

UP NEXT

Furman: The Paladins go home for the first time since entering the Top 25, hosting Charleston Southern on Tuesday.

SC-Upstate: The Spartans host South Carolina State next Saturday.

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