It took nearly 50 years, but Furman finally has another NCAA tournament win. The Paladins did it in pretty dramatic fashion, too.
Garrett Hien intercepted a wayward pass and fed the ball to JP Pegues, who hit a long 3-pointer with 2.2 seconds to play to give the 13th-seeded Paladins a 68-67 victory over 4th-seeded Virginia at the Amway Center on Thursday. It’s the program’s first NCAA tournament victory since 1974.
It was a pretty good one for Pegues, too. The sophomore guard had missed his previous three 3-point attempts but the Paladins’ leader in 3-point field goals this season buried his last from several feet behind the 3-point line. It’ll go down as one of the biggest shots in program history since the Paladins had just one other NCAA tournament win.
Furman’s victory was the first upset of the tournament and they were a trendy pick to get it done. At Caesars Sportsbook, the betting was on the Furman side, with 61.6% of the tickets and 55.6% of the money on the Paladins.
At BetMGM books, more bets were placed and more money wagered on Furman plus the points (5.5) than on any other team in Thursday’s games by tipoff.
The Paladins (28-7), who have won 15 of their last 16 games, will play the winner of the San Diego State-Charleston game on Saturday in a second-round game.
For Virginia (25-8) it was a reminder of another heartbreaking first-round loss. Thursday’s game came on the five-year anniversary of their loss to UMBC, the first time a 16 seed had beaten a 1 seed. The Cavaliers rebounded to win the national title in 2019 but have lost in the first round of their last two tournament appearances.