The Furman men’s basketball team will honor former standout Jerry Smith by retiring his #50 jersey prior to the Paladins’ 4 p.m. Southern Conference contest against South Division foe Georgia Southern on Saturday on Carolina First Court at Timmons Arena.
Smith, a native of Corbin, Ky., was a three-time All-Southern Conference pick who led the league in scoring at 26.9 points per game in 1962 on his way to garnering Helms Foundation All-America Second Team honors. Furman’s all-time leader in career free throw percentage at 82.2%, Smith ranks fifth in school history with 1,885 career points. A second round pick of the Detroit Pistons in the 1963 NBA Draft, he was inducted into the Furman Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988. Smith joins Frank Selvy (#28), Clyde Mayes (#34), Darrell Floyd (#33), Jonathan Moore (#25) and Nield Gordon (#27) as the only players to have their number retired.
Furman enters Saturday’s game at 8-8 overall and 2-3 in the SoCon after dropping an 86-81 decision to Davidson at home on Wednesday evening. The Paladins rallied from a double-digit deficit in the final minutes to pull within two points on the strength of Amu Saaka’s career-high 34 points. It marked the most points by a Paladin since Moussa Diagne scored 34 against the College of Charleston during the 2006-07 season. No Furman player has scored more points since Mel Daniel tallied 35 versus East Tennessee State in 1981.
Furman shot 51.1% from the field in the loss and made 7-of-14 three-pointers, but surrendered more than 85 points for the second straight game in SoCon play. The Paladins have dropped three of their last four games at Timmons Arena.
Saturday’s game marks the 41st meeting in the all-time series between Furman and Georgia Southern with the Eagle holding a 21-19 series edge. Furman downed Georgia Southern 70-60 on February 12, 2009, to snap a six-game skid against the Eagles.
Georgia Southern is 4-14 overall and 1-4 in league play after falling 71-57 at Wofford on Thursday evening in Spartanburg, S.C.