GREENVILLE, South Carolina – Sophomore forward Clay Mounce buried six three-pointers to anchor a long distance barrage and power No. 23 Furman to a 93-50 romp over undermanned UNCW early Saturday at Timmons Arena.
The Paladins remained unbeaten at 12-0 with their second straight victory over the Seahawks. UNCW, playing the second of four consecutive road games before the Christmas holiday, stands 4-7 in 2018-19.
Mounce scored 19 of his game-high 26 points in the first half and added 10 rebounds for one of two double-doubles for the Paladins. Senior forward Matt Rafferty added 13 points and 11 boards, junior guard Jordan Lyons poured in 16 and sophomore guard Alex Hunter finished with 14.
Senior forward Devontae Cacok scored 11 points for the Seahawks, who bucketed their fewest points in C.B. McGrath’s two seasons with the club.
Five Furman players connected on a trifecta and the Paladins went 17-for-46 from long distance, tying for the most three-pointers by a UNCW opponent and setting a new high for treys attempted. The 17 triples matched Baylor’s number on Nov. 23, 1996, and the 46 attempts bested 39 tries by CAA rival William & Mary on Feb. 2, 2008.
Mounce, averaging 11.7 points per game, had the hot hand early for the Paladins as Furman bolted out to a 17-point halftime cushion, 40-23. The Elkin, N.C., product went 7-for-11 from the floor, including 5-of-8 from deep, for 19 of the team’s 40 first-half points and went on to equal his career high in points.
The Paladins, ranked for the first time in the school’s 106-year history, withstood an early run by the Seahawks in the second half before pulling away down the stretch.
UNCW strung together the first seven points of the second half to climb within, 40-30, on a trey by sophomore guard Jay Estime with 18:26 remaining. The Seahawks were still hanging around at the 14-minute mark, but the Paladins used a 26-2 run over a six-minute span to pull away.
Mounce and Lyons did most of the damage in the decisive second-half run. Lyons had 14 of his 16 points in the final 20 minutes, including four triples, after missing all six of his field goal attempts in the first 20 minutes.
Early in the contest, after Cacok converted a layup on the left side to chop Furman’s early lead to 8-6, the Paladins outscored the Seahawks, 20-6, over the next 12 minutes to gain breathing room. With Mounce leading the way, the Paladins used a 14-2 spurt over a 4:51 stretch and Mounce’s third three-pointer of the half extended the lead to 28-12 with just under five minutes remaining in the opening period.
The lead swelled to as many as 19 points in the half before Jaylen Fornes’ jumper on the left elbow sliced the deficit to 40-23 at intermission.
Furman’s largest lead of the contest came with 3:08 left in the contest when reserve guard Brady Schuck made a driving layup to push the lead to 89-45.
The Seahawks shot 35 percent on the day on 21-of-60 field goal attempts. The Paladins wound up hitting 47.4 percent on 36-of-76 tries.
INJURY UPDATE: The Seahawks are down to 11 players with injuries to guards Jacque Brown (knee) and Ty Gadsden (abdominal).
THREE-POINT ATTACK: The hot-shooting Paladins outscored the Seahawks, 51-6, from long range.
TURNOVER COMPARISON: UNCW finished with 15 turnovers in the contest, while Furman wound up with five miscues – only one in the final period.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS: The 43-point victory was the largest by an opponent in the McGrath Era, surpassing last season’s 100-63 decision by North Dakota State in the Sun Bowl Invitational in El Paso, Texas.
KEY MOMENT: After UNCW had closed the deficit to 10 points for the third time with 15:18 remaining, Lyons answered with a three-pointer on the left wing and the Paladins were off to the races.
QUOTABLE: “The wheels definitely came off. We missed some of the shots we normally make. You don’t ever want to get embarrassed. I told them it’s happened, it’s over. What’s going to determine how much heart we have is how we bounce back in the next game.” – UNCW Head Coach C.B. McGrath
NEXT UP: UNCW returns to the Port City briefly before embarking on a two-game road trip to Georgia State (Wednesday, Dec. 19) and Mercer (Friday, Dec. 21) to conclude the non-conference schedule. UNCW’s next home appearance is Saturday, Dec. 29, when the College of Charleston visits Trask Coliseum for the CAA opener.