Defending national champion Villanova lost its second game in a row on Saturday, the first time the No. 8 Wildcats had dropped back-to-back contests since the end of the 2012-13 season.
Prior to Saturday, Nova had been the only team not to lose back-to-back games since the start of the 2013-14 season.
According to Elias Sports Bureau research, the most recent reigning national champion to start 2-2 or worse through four games the following season was UCLA in 1995-96 (2-2). Villanova also started 2-2 in 1985-86, the season after its first national title.
The Wildcats hadn’t lost two of their first four games since 1997-98, prior to coach Jay Wright’s arrival.
After losing four players from last season’s national championship squad to the NBA draft, Wright continues to search for his best rotation. On Saturday, freshman Jahvon Quinerly, a five-star recruit, didn’t get in the game after playing key minutes in Villanova’s first three games.
The Wildcats’ depth took a hit Friday when the team announced that redshirt sophomore Dylan Painter will transfer.
“You always want to get the young guys in,” Wright said. “It was close and then we got down the stretch and you try to ride it out with the older guys and hope you can get through the game.”
It has been quite a start to the season for Furman, which already defeated two Final Four teams from the previous season (Loyola Chicago and Villanova). Junior guard Jordan Lyons also matched the Division I record with 15 3-pointers on Wednesday against North Greenville.
Lyons had a slew of big buckets against Nova on Saturday, including one that put Furman ahead 48-46 with a little over 8 minutes remaining. He, along with senior forward Matt Rafferty, delivered huge buckets in overtime to key a 7-0 spurt that put the Paladins ahead 69-63 in the final minute, enough cushion for them to hang on for the victory in front of a shocked sellout crowd at the recently renovated Finneran Pavilion.
“We’re just tiny old Furman,” coach Bob Richey said. “Most people ask us what state we’re in, what city we’re in. Now all of a sudden people are starting to figure out who Furman is.
“It almost can bring me to tears to think about how proud I am of the resolve, the resiliency and the fight this team has. They play together, they play connected. It’s the definition of a team.”
Villanova next faces Canisius in the Advocare Invitational in Orlando, Florida, on Thanksgiving.
ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.