Patriot cagers host Nighthawks in PBC Tournament

Patriot cagers host Nighthawks in PBC Tournament

The Francis Marion University men's basketball team will host its first-ever Peach Belt Conference Tournament game when the Patriots entertain the University of North Georgia on Wednesday (Feb. 28) at 7 p.m.

General admission is $8 for adults and $5 for students.  FMU faculty, staff, and students are admitted free with ID.

The contest will be streamed on-line at courtesy of the Patriot Sports Network.

Francis Marion finished the regular season with nine wins in its last 11 contests to finish at 19-8 overall and in third place in the Peach Belt with a 14-8 mark, the most conference wins for the program in 14 seasons.  The Nighthawks (12-16, 10-12) enter Wednesday's game as the sixth seed.

The other three quarterfinal games on Wednesday (all starting at 7:30 p.m.) have top-seeded and 25th-ranked Clayton State University (21-5) hosting eighth-seeded Columbus State University (9-16), fourth-seeded Augusta University (16-12) hosting fifth-seeded USC Aiken (15-11), and second-seeded and 24th-ranked UNC Pembroke  (23-5) hosting seventh-seeded Georgia Southwestern State University (13-13).

The semifinals and finals will be played at the site of the highest remaining seed after quarterfinal play, with the semifinals on Saturday (March 3) and the championship game on Sunday (March 4).

The FMU/UNG winner will meet the UNCP/GSW winner in the semifinals on March 3.

FMU senior guard Detrek Browning leads the PBC in scoring at 25 points per game and ranks fourth nationally.  He needs only 40 points to break the Peach Belt Conference career scoring mark of 2,333 set by Augusta's Keshun Sherrill.  Browning needs 13 points to pass Augusta's Ben Madgen for second place on the PBC list.

Juniors Brandon Parker (13.7 ppg) and Ryan Davis (10.5 ppg) also average in double figures for the Patriots, while senior 6-7 center Judah Alexander (8.4 ppg) paces FMU in rebounding at 6.3 rebounds per contest.

The Patriots are third in the conference in scoring offense at 81.8 points per game, while North Georgia ranks seventh at 78.2 ppg.  FMU is sixth in scoring defense allowing 75.5 ppg, while the Nighthawks are last in the league, giving up 84.5 ppg.

UNG's senior 6-5 guard Shaquan Cantrell leads four Nighthawks scoring in double digits with a 16.1 ppg average.  He is also the squad's top rebounder at 5.9 boards per game.

Francis Marion swept the two regular-season meetings, winning 88-76 on Dec. 2 in Dahlonega, Ga., and 90-54 on Feb. 10 in Florence as part of Homecoming festivities. With three wins in the last four meetings, FMU has drawn to with 11-9 in the all-time series.