FLORENCE, SC – Senior guard Detrek Browning scored 25 of his game-high 27 points in the second half and junior guard Ryan Davis added a career-high 24 off the bench as undefeated Francis Marion University outlasted Columbus State University 90-81, Tuesday night (Dec. 19) in Peach Belt Conference men's basketball action.
The Patriots complete their pre-Christmas schedule 8-0 and equal the second-longest season-opening winning streak in program history. The 2008-09 and 1985-86 teams both opened 8-0, a figure only bettered by a 10-0 start in 2003-04. The Patriots are one of only 10 unbeaten squads remaining in NCAA Division II, while also joining Augusta University as the only 3-0 teams in Peach Belt play.
FMU will now break for Christmas, before returning to action with a road conference game at Young Harris College on Dec. 30 at 3:30 p.m. The next home contest for the Patriots will be on Saturday, Jan. 6, against Clayton State University at 3:30 p.m.
Browning, tallied only two points on 1-of-7 shooting in the opening half, but rebounded to shoot 9-of-12 over the final 20 minutes. The Columbia native now stands only 47 points away from passing Carlton Farr (1999-95) and establishing a new Patriot career scoring record.
While Browning was shut down in the opening half, junior Brandon Parker picked up the slack scoring 16 of his 18 points before halftime. Davis tallied his career-high total on 8-of-16 shooting and was 8-of-9 at the free throw line, while also sharing team-rebounding honors with six. Led by Davis, the FMU bench outscored the CSU reserves 39-20.
Senior guard JaCori Payne led Columbus State (2-4, 2-1) with 26 points and five assists, while senior forward Marcus Dixon added 14 points and 15 rebounds. The Cougars were coming off a road upset victory over nationally ranked UNC Pembroke on Sunday.
CSU led for the majority of the first half, and held a seven-point margin (31-24) with 5:55 left before halftime. FMU responded with a 10-1 run that included six points from Davis to grab a 34-32 advantage. After the Cougars regained the lead on a three-point play by Payne, the Patriots closed the half with a 9-3 spurt to assume a 43-38 lead as the teams exited the floor to the locker rooms.
The first 11 minutes of the second half were tightly contested with neither team leading by more than four points. The score was knotted at 61-61 when Davis scored on a layup to ignite an 11-1 run that gave the Patriots a 72-62 margin with 5:59 remaining. Browning contributed nine points to the spurt.
CSU closed to within 82-78 with 1:33 left, but a three-point play by Browning and a dunk by sophomore Kendall Wall extended the lead to 87-78 heading to the final minute.
Francis Marion shot 47 percent from the field, ending a string of four consecutive games above 50 percent, and was 10-of-23 from beyond the three-point arc and 18-of-24 at the foul line. CSU connected on 48.3 percent of its field goal attempts, including 9-of-22 from long range, and was 16-of-26 at the charity stripe.
FMU committed only 12 miscues, while forcing 18 Cougar turnovers.
POST-GAME COMMENTS from FMU head coach Gary Edwards and junior guard Ryan Davis via FACEBOOK Live