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Thompson, Croone shine in tight contest on the hardwood

Greenville, SC - Bernard Thompson scored 20 points as Florida Gulf Coast squeaked by Furman 70-69 Friday in non-conference play. Thompson, a Rockdale graduate, also handed out six assists, while Brett Comer had a team-high 21 points, including two go-ahead free throws with 5.2 seconds left to help the Eagles (2-1) survive.

Newton graduate Stephen Croone had another excellent game for the Paladins. Coming off a 30-point performance against Gardner-Webb, Croone scored a game-high 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting Friday, though he missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Furman (2-1), which was hoping to start 3-0 for the first time since the 2009-2010 season, has a long lay off before visiting College of Charleston November 23. Florida Gulf Coast hosts Division II Eckerd Monday at 7:05 p.m.

Croone’s fellow classmates had a tough night as well as Tyler Peoples and the Paladins’ men’s soccer team fell 2-1 to Wofford in the Southern Conference Tournament semifinals Friday at Stone Soccer Stadium.

Peoples, a Heritage graduate and sophomore midfielder, is second on the team with five goals through 18 games for the 11-5-2 Paladins, who will await to see if they’re picked as an at-large team by the NCAA selection committee.

Wofford (11-6-1), the top seed who also defeated Furman in the regular season finale November 2, will play Elon in the conference championship game Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

Ware back for defending champs

Kevin Ware returned to the court Friday, scoring five points and grabbing two rebounds in 13 minutes in defending national champion Louisville’s 99-54 victory over Cornell.

Ware, who was playing in his first game since a gruesome leg injury in the NCAA Tournament last March, entered the game with 14:06 left in the first half and immediately drove to the basket and finished a lay up for Louisville (3-0), which led 53-14 at halftime and cruised to its 19th consecutive victory.

The Rockdale graduate did play in one exhibition for the Cardinals before sitting out the first two regular season games while still recovering from the injury.

Louisville, which last lost February 9 to Notre Dame in a five-overtime thriller, will look to stay unbeaten when it hosts Hartford November 19.

South Alabama eliminated in opening round

The dream season for the South Alabama women’s soccer team ended Friday. No. 1 overall seed Florida State got two goals from Carson Pickett and a goal and two assists from Megan Campbell in a 5-0 victory in the first round of the Division 1 women’s tournament at Seminole Soccer Complex.

Heritage graduate Melissa Drish took the loss for the Jaguars, allowing five of the 12 shots on goal she faced to hit the back of the net.

Drish ended her season with a 11-6-3 record for South Alabama, which won its first Sun Belt Conference championship and was appearing in the NCAAs for the first time in school history.

“I’m really proud of the girls tonight,” USA coach Graham Winkworth told usajaguars.com. “I thought that we did really well…and we can just leave this field with our heads held high because not only have we worked hard tonight, but the girls have been phenomenal all season.”