ORLANDO, Fla. — Furman’s Garrett Hien stole a long pass by Virginia’s Kihei Clark and JP Pegues made a 3 with 2.4 seconds remaining as the 13th-seeded Paladins upended the fourth-seeded Cavaliers, 68-67, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Amway Center Thursday afternoon (March 16).
Furman (28-7) only led for 3:28 of game time, but outscored Virginia (25-8) 41-35 in the second half. With the win, the Paladins advance to face the winner of No. 5 seed San Diego State and No. 12 College of Charleston.
The Cavaliers were led by Kadin Shedrick, who scored a team-high 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting and knocked down five of his six free throw attempts. With 13 rebounds, Shedrick notched his first and only double-double of the season. He also posted a game-high four blocks. Reece Beekman (14 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists) and Isaac McKneely (12 points, 5-10 FG) also scored in double figures for the Hoos.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Virginia led the Paladins 32-27 at the break after connecting on 46 percent of its shots, all of which came inside the arc, in the first 20 minutes of play. Jayden Gardner (8 points, 7 rebounds) kicked off the scoring 18 seconds in after which Furman never secured for the rest of the half. UVA leaped out to an 8-0 lead after starting 3-for-4 from the field and sinking a pair of free throws. The Cavaliers led by as many as 10 points [17-7] before the Paladins scored 15 of the next 21 points to shrink the UVA lead to one, 23-22. Another eight unanswered points by the Hoos broke up the Furman run and gave UVA a 31-22 lead with 2:34 to go in the first. UVA missed its last two field goal attempts and committed a turnover in the final 2:00 of the half as the Paladins closed in on the UVA lead to conclude the half.
The Cavaliers dominated the paint in the first half, out-rebounding Furman, 22-14, and out-scoring the Paladins inside, 16-8. Virginia only attempted two 3-pointers in the first stanza, missing on both tries. Furman, which went 4-for-14 from deep in the opening period, made just five of its 10 attempts at the line.
Beekman led all scorers at the break with 10 points on 3-for-4 shooting and went 4-for-5 at the charity stripe. He also pulled down five rebounds. Gardner had eight points and six rebounds at halftime. For the first time in UVA’s last 14 games, Shedrick made his first appearance in the starting lineup. He posted six of his 13 total rebounds in the first 20 minutes of play.
Less than five minutes into the second half, UVA grasped its largest lead of the game [42-30] after starting the half 5-of-10 from the field. McKneely connected on back-to-back 3s – UVA’s first of the game – to extend the Cavaliers’ lead once again back to 12 points [50-38]. Midway through the second half, the Paladins switched to a zone defense, which initially disrupted UVA’s flow on offense as Furman embarked on a 19-4 run to claim its first lead the game, 57-54, with 5:02 to play.
The Paladins led for the next 3:25 of game time before a pair of made free throws by Beekman with 1:37 to play flipped the score to give the Cavaliers the lead, 64-63. After the UVA offense started to heat up, Furman switched out of its zone defense and back in to a man-to-man. Virginia came up with back-to-back steals on the next two Furman possessions, the second of which resulted in McKneely being fouled and sent to the line for a 1-and-1 opportunity. However, McKneely missed the front end of the 1-and-1.
With the score in Virginia’s favor, 66-63, the Paladins signaled for time, but missed a 3-point attempt with 24 seconds left. After being intentionally fouled, Clark made the second of his two attempts at the line to increase the Cavaliers’ lead to 67-64 with 19 seconds remaining.
Shedrick was whistled for a foul on the next possession to send Hien to the line, who drilled both of his attempts with 12 seconds left to shrink the UVA lead to 67-65.
After the made free throws by Hien, Furman set up a trapping full court press. Clark inbounded the ball to Beekman, who immediately passed it back to Clark. With eight seconds left, Clark attempted to heave the ball to Shedrick who was standing at midcourt, but the pass was intercepted by Hien. Hien quickly passed the ball to Pegues, who drilled his first and only 3 of the game with 2.4 seconds remaining.
Trailing 68-67, Virginia opted to use its final timeout. The Cavaliers inbounded the ball to Beekman who was already on the run and threw up a deep contested 3-pointer as time expired, but it kicked off the back of the iron as the horn sounded.
The win marked Furman’s first in the NCAA Tournament since 1974.