EditorsNote: Edit 1: Deleted extra word in lede
Matt Rafferty and Alex Hunter each scored 18 points as No. 25 Furman’s first game in the Top 25 resulted in a 98-77 victory against host Elon on Tuesday at Schar Center in Elon, N.C.
Furman (9-0), which owns road victories against reigning national champion Villanova and 2018 Final Four participant Loyola Chicago, popped into the poll for the first time in school history earlier this week. The Paladins began the day as one of 11 unbeaten Division I teams.
Clay Mounce added 17 points, Jordan Lyons had 13 and Mike Bothwell scored 11 to give Furman a boost. The Paladins have a 15-game regular-season winning streak stretching to last season, the longest for the program since the 1930s.
Steven Santa Ana scored 21 points and Tyler Seibring posted 17 of his 19 points in the second half for Elon (3-6). Sheldon Eberhardt added 13 points and Nathan Priddy had 11 for the Phoenix, which hasn’t defeated a Division I team since its season opener against Manhattan.
Furman is the first Southern Conference team to hold a Top 25 ranking since Davidson in 2008, when Stephen Curry was a standout college player.
Elon, which played the third game in a five-game homestand, is 0-28 when facing nationally ranked Division I teams.
The Phoenix closed within 55-52 before Noah Gurley scored five straight points for the Paladins.
Elon was hanging around at 66-59 with less than nine minutes left before Furman produced a 21-5 burst to fend off any upset bid.
Furman led by as many as 14 points in the first half before going to halftime with a 39-29 lead. Elon scored only two points in the final 5:39 before the break.
Elon hosted a nationally ranked team for just the third time since joining the Division I level 19 years ago. One of those came last month when Schar Center’s first regular-season men’s game came with a visit from then-No. 8 North Carolina.
—Field Level Media