Mountaineers meet Furman in SoCon Tournament men's quarterfinals
Jamie Shell / (email@example.com)
The fourth-seeded Mountaineers, who received a bye in the first round of the tournament, will face No. 12-seeded Furman, who upset fifth-seeded Samford 55-51 in a first-round matchup. ASU has defeated Furman in each of its past eight meetings in the SoCon Tournament, dating back to the 1978-79 season. FU's last win against ASU in the tournament came during the semifinal round during the 1977-78 campaign.
ASU defeated Furman 72-66 in the teams' only meeting during the regular season at Holmes Center on Feb. 11. In that game, four Mountaineers players scored 14 points each. FU was paced by Stephen Croome with a game-high total of 20 points.
Following the win against Samford, FU head coach Jeff Jackson told reporters that a similar formula used in Friday's victory played out in its meeting with the Mountaineers last month.
"We played them [ASU] a similar game about a month ago. It really came down to who made plays in the last minute or two of the game, and they made a couple more than we did," Jackson said. "We're gonna have to do what we did today ... [we] have to grind, and have to do a good job with taking care of the ball."
Jackson pointed out ASU's Nathan Healy as a key player to contain. The SoCon's Defensive Player of the Year tallied a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds in ASU's six-point win last month.
"Healy's great. He has a great ability to stretch the floor, and his perimeter threat and in the post creates a lot of havoc for your defense," Jackson added.
ASU (14-15, 10-8 SoCon) enters Saturday's quarterfinal on a two-game win streak, including an 86-60 pounding against Chattanooga on Senior Day at home on Saturday, March 2.
Jackson added that for his team to upset the Mountaineers, it must play a similar game to the last matchup.
"We're going to have to do a good job of playing them inside-out," Jackson explained. "We have to be mindful that they have such good physicality on the wings with their guards and [ASU forward Jay] Canty."
Tipoff between No. 12-seeded Furman and fourth-seeded ASU is slated for 2:30 p.m. at U.S. Cellular Center in Asheville.