GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) — For the first time in program history, the Furman men’s hoops team was chosen by coaches’ poll as the top team in the Southern Conference. It’s a season after the Paladins lost in the conference championship on a buzzer-beater.
With less than 10 seconds left in the SoCon Championship, Mike Bothwell takes the two-point lead for Furman.
“Everything was going really fast,” said Furman graduate guard Mike Bothwell. “But, after hitting the lay-up, I thought that would be it.”
But 4.3 seconds were still on the clock. It was a lot of time for heartbreak.
The moment still stings.
“Yeah, I’ve never seen a dressing room like that while playing or coaching to be honest with you.” Bob Richey, Furman’s head men’s basketball coach, said.
“It was tough,” Bothwell said. “It’s something I will tell everyone and will probably live with me for a long time.”
“This one was different just because you had dreams at stake and something they all grew up wanting to do,” Richey said. “To go to the NCAA Tournament.”
The Paladins return to the ground this season, fueled by those final seconds.
“It’s one of those situations where, for me, I kind of kept it on my desk all offseason,” Richey said. “That I want it to be something that ultimately makes me more determined as a leader and a person.”
“I kept a record on my phone of how many times someone came to me and brought up this stunt,” Bothwell said. “So I’m ready to start talking about fire response. The answer season and what this team can do from it and how this predicament can propel us forward as a program.
When the moment comes in the future, Furman prepares for the story to end differently.
“The message has been that this has to be a stepping stone or a stumbling block,” Bothwell said. “What’s happening can take us as a program further than if it hadn’t happened.”
“It’s the gift. Right?” said Richy. “When you go through something that difficult, the gift is when you come back to that situation, it’s nothing new and you’ve been there before and now it can sort of settle you down. a way you can go and play. ”
Furman’s season begins Monday, Nov. 7 against North Greenville.
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