The Furman Paladins basketball team will host the Mercer Bears in Southern Conference action on Saturday at Timmons Arena in Greenville, SC.
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Mercer vs Furman Preview
The Paladins kicked off their SoCon slate with a road victory on Wednesday, edging the Chattanooga Mocs 77-73 to improve to 7-3 on the year.
Furman guard Mike Bothwell led all participants with 22 points. He shot 9-of-15 from the field and added 7 rebounds, a pair of assists and a block.
The junior is enjoying a breakout season — he leads the team in points (18), rebounds (5.5), assists (3.8) and steals (1.5) per game.
“I really just try to take what the game gives me. … I’ve never been afraid to go in there and attack,” Bothwell told The Greenville News ahead of the Chattanooga test. “That also creates open shots for others. (Assistant strength and conditioning) Coach Matt (Aldred) has done a great job with me. I’m 195 pounds now and probably came in at 180, maybe. Putting on that muscle has helped me be able to play down low, finish through contact and not get knocked off my spot when driving.”
Last year, Bothwell was a key cog for a Paladins squad that went 25-7 overall and finished second in conference play with a 15-3 mark. He averaged 10.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game and was efficient while doing it, turning it over just 1.1 times per contest and shooting 60.8 percent from 2-point range, 37.7 percent from 3-point range and 81.3 percent from the charity stripe.
But Bothwell logged just 24.7 minutes per game in 2019-20. That figure’s up to 30.8 this year, another team high.
“Working while you wait is the way our program is,” he said, per The Greenville News. “When it’s your turn to contribute, you’re ready for it.
“Outside of increased minutes, I haven’t had to do much more (this season) than I had since I first got here. It’s just playing the game the way we practice — playing together and feeding off my teammates.”
The Bears dropped their conference opener and fell to 7-2 overall on Tuesday, succumbing to the Wofford Terriers 78-65 at home despite a game-high 21 points from Ross Cummings, who added 6 rebounds, 4 assists and a block.
The senior guard shot 7-of-12 from the field and 5-of-8 from 3-point range; his teammates went 18-of-51 and 4-of-18.
“Give Wofford credit; they took it right to us and were more physical and tougher than we were,” Mercer head coach Greg Gary said, according to the school’s athletics website. “That was embarrassing on our end. Wofford’s guys had a lot to do with that. They were focused and ready to do their jobs. They carried out their assignments.”
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