The Mocs walked off the McKenzie Arena court to an appreciative ovation.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga earned its first Southern Conference men's basketball victory of the season Saturday night with a 73-46 dismantling of a young Furman team.
"This win boosted the morale of this team," said UTC senior guard Stephen McDowell, who led all players with 22 points and made six 3-pointers. "Sometimes when you're working hard and you're not getting your end result, it can take a toll. It paid off tonight."
McDowell teamed with senior post player Nicchaeus Doaks for a formidable inside-outside tandem that flustered Furman's zone defense. Doaks scored 13 of his 21 points in the first half, and McDowell scored 14 after intermission.
"In the first half we were going inside because (Alex) Opacic had two fouls," said Doaks, who tied his season high in points. "In the second half, it was Steph's show.
"We work hard every day, and sometimes it's going to work like this."
Furman guard Justin Dehm led the Paladins (2-11, 0-4) with 17 points, and forward Noah States added 16 points in what turned from a close game to a blowout in the second half.
Furman trailed 33-26 at halftime but opened the second half with two 3-pointers to pull within a point. Dehm missed a 3-pointer from the top of the key on their third possession of the half that could have given the Paladins the lead.
It clanked off the rim and started a severe drought that the Mocs (5-10, 1-3) used to their advantage.
"Our focus in the second half was to finish the game," Doaks said. "It worked out for us."
Furman made only one bucket, a 3-pointer by Zach Greene, in the next 10 minutes. Bryson Barnes ended the drought with a shot at the 8:48 mark, but the Paladins trailed 53-37 at the time.
"I really thought we hung in there for 24 to 25 minutes," Furman coach Jeff Jackson said. "They physically wore us down. We were only 6-for-28 inside the arc, and that was because of their size around the basket."
UTC sophomore center Jeremy Saffore received the second start of his career, in place of senior Khalil Hartwell, who missed the entire first half as a punishment from coach John Shulman. Hartwell arrived at 10:30 a.m. for a 10 o'clock meeting Saturday.
"He didn't do it on purpose," Shulman said. "He just had his times mixed up."
Shulman pulled his starters with about three minutes to play, and Jackson followed suit a few possessions later.
"It didn't feel like a 27-point game," Jackson said. "We had eight or nine possessions in a row where we weren't disappointed with the shot, but it didn't go in."