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No. 25 Furman visits Elon in first game as Top 25 team
Tuesday, December 04, 2018
Latest Line: Furman -7.5 O/U: 141
 
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Look what a win over the defending national champion will get you: a spot in the Top 25.

Two weeks after beating Villanova 76-68, Furman (8-0) on Monday made its first-ever appearance in the Associated Press poll at No. 25.

With the win over the Wildcats, the Paladins, who visit former Southern Conference rival Elon on Tuesday in Elon, N.C., have beaten half of last season's Final Four. They also took down Loyola-Chicago, 60-58 on Nov. 9. Both wins came on the road.

"This is a great moment for our program and our university," Paladins coach Bob Richey said, according to Fox Carolina.

"It's something that we have been working really hard towards, and we'll obviously celebrate it, but at the same time, we've got to make sure we don't rest on the ranking. We've got to continue to improve and focus on the things that got us here."

Furman, which entered the week as one of 11 unbeaten teams in Division I, had received Top 25 votes each of the past two weeks and broke through despite being taken to two overtimes by Western Carolina.

The Paladins are led by guard Jordan Lyons, who's averaging better than 21 points per game.

One day after Robert Morris' Josh Williams tied the NCAA record with 15 3-pointers last month, Lyons tied it again, while setting the record for 3-point attempts with 34 and scoring 54 points.

Lyons' 54 points were the most in a Division I game since Kentucky's Jodie Meeks scored the same in a 2009 game against Tennessee.

"The way that we believe in each other and the way everyone in this program believes in everyone's abilities and the confidence that we hold here is something that is just so special," Lyons said, according to the Mid-Major Madness.

Elon (3-5) comes into the game off a 65-58 home loss to Boston University. The Phoenix's only one win over a Division I opponent came in the season opener over Manhattan.

In the loss to Boston U., Elon led with 2:27 to go but was outscored 12-1 the rest of the way.

"We got better, we just didn't get the reward," Elon coach Matt Matheny told the (Burlington, N.C.) Times-News. "We played better than we've been playing, and it's tough to stomach that we didn't finish it off."

Elon leads the all-time series between the teams 11-5, but Furman beat the Phoenix 76-67 a year ago.

The Paladins have won 15 of 16 regular-season games, including 14 in a row, the program's longest streak in 80 years.