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Wofford vs. Furman Saturday: You don’t want to miss this one

Saturday's Wofford at Furman game has sold out.
Furman comes into the game with a 22-5 record and is one victory away from the tying the school record for single-season wins.

If there has ever been a bigger basketball game in the 20-year history of Timmons Arena than the one between Wofford and Furman on Saturday, you won’t convince the current Paladin team of it.

Wofford, 23-4 on the season, comes into the 4 p.m. contest undefeated in the Southern Conference (15-0) and winner of 14 straight games, which is the longest streak in program history and second-longest active streak in the nation. Furman, meanwhile, is having quite a season of its own, having spent a couple of weeks early in the season ranked among the nation’s top 25 teams and sporting a 22-5 record after winning its last six games.

Senior Matt Rafferty has been named Southern Conference Player of the Week three times this season.

The Wofford-Furman game is also on the national radar. ESPN welcomed Furman to its NCAA tournament “Bubble Watch” this week, Mid-Major Madness featured the game in its weekend preview, and a writer Matt Zemek of CBB Today said “there is no better or bigger game this Saturday than Wofford versus Furman.”

Furman is one victory away from tying the school record for single-season wins, and the success of both the Paladins and Terriers has led to serious speculation that the Southern Conference could be awarded an at-large berth to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for the first time ever. The only team guaranteed a spot in the field is the winner of the league tournament, which will take place March 8-11 at the U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville, North Carolina.

Wofford captured the first meeting between the two teams this season, holding off Furman 59-54 in Spartanburg on Jan. 19. The Terriers haven’t won at Timmons since 2015, and no team has gone undefeated through the Southern Conference since the 2008-09 Davidson squad led by current NBA star Steph Curry.

Saturday also happens to be Senior Day, when Matt Rafferty and Andrew Brown will be recognized for their substantial contributions to the basketball program, which includes compiling the most wins of any senior class in Furman history.

On Tuesday, Rafferty was named Southern Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for his efforts in victories over UNC Greensboro (67-57) and VMI (96-62), where he averaged a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds to go with 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game. It was Rafferty’s third player of the week honor this season.

Tickets for the public are sold out but are still available to Furman students, faculty and staff on a first-come, first-served basis.


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