Late Free Throws Propel Patriots Past Armstrong State

(release by Doug Page, FMU SID intern)

FLORENCE, SC – Sophomore point guard Detrek Browning and junior guard Alante Fenner registered 20 points apiece to lead Francis Marion University past Armstrong State 64-63 Wednesday night (Jan. 6) in Peach Belt Conference men's basketball action. Browning blocked a potential game-winning three-point shot at the buzzer after Fenner drained a pair of free throws with 6.7 seconds remaining in regulation as the Patriots won their second game in a row.


The Patriots led the entire first half en route to earning their second conference win of the year and first PBC home win of 2016. FMU (9-5, 2-4) will hit the road for the next two contests with the first stop coming against UNC Pembroke on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The Patriots return home to host North Georgia on Monday, Jan. 18, with a tip-off scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at the Smith University Center.

In addition to his seventh 20-point game in the last 10 contests, Browning dished out three assists and posted three steals to go along with six rebounds in 39 minutes of action. Sophomore forward Mike Davis Jr. chipped in with 10 points, including a pair of three-pointers and two blocks. Sophomore 6-7 forward Judah Alexander added 11 points and five rebounds, while capping off a perfect 4-for-4 night at the free throw line.

Senior 6-8 center Ethan Mackey led all Pirate (5-8, 3-3) scorers with 19 points on 9-of-12 shooting, and registered six rebounds and one block. Senior guard Nick Scott dropped in 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting, with three buckets coming from behind the arc.

The two free throws by Fenner with 6.7 seconds left gave the Patriots a 64-63 lead after FMU had fallen behind by one point on a made free throw by the Pirates' Jamison Jeffers. Mackey tied the game 62-62 with 1:01 remaining in the second half on a fade-away jumper to continue the seesaw battle. The two teams would find themselves tied three times over the final 3:03 of the second half.

Francis Marion scored the game's first three points off a shot by Browning from behind the arc and quickly stretched the lead to 8-2 after another three-point shot from Davis Jr. The margin swelled to as many as 13 points (29-16) after a Fenner lay-in with 7:32 left in the opening half. A missed three-point shot by the Pirates' Scott with 32 seconds remaining allowed the Patriots to take advantage of a late possession, leading to a foul with just one tick left on the clock. Fener connected on both shots from the line to put FMU up 36-24 at the end of the first stanza.

Armstrong cut the deficit to 50-46 on a lay-in by senior Herbert Graham with 11:15 remaining in the second half, but FMU went bucket-for-bucket with the Pirates over the next two minutes to hold onto a four-point lead (52-48). The Patriots found themselves trailing for the first time (53-52) with 6:23 remaining after a layup by Mackey.

Davis Jr. would momentarily give the Patriots back the lead at 62-60 with 2:08 left on the clock as he drove through the lane for a layup that would drop. The biggest rebound of the game for FMU would arguably come from Fenner on the missed free throw attempt by Jeffers with 16 seconds remaining, allowing him to drive down the court and get fouled. Both of Fenner's made free throws would seal the deal for FMU and lead to the 64-63 win.

Francis Marion shot 41.5 percent (22-of-53) from the field, was 6-of-21 from behind the three-point arc, and hit 14-of-20 free throws, while Armstrong State connected on 41 percent of its shots, was 5-of-15 from long range, and hit 8-of-10 free throws.


1-9-16 3:50 pm at Florence, SC (Smith University Center)
Mackey,Ethan 9-12 1-2 19; Scott,Nicholas 4-7 0-0 11; Graham,Herbert 4-6 0-0
8; Mitchell,Shaquiell 3-12 0-0 7; Hopper,Marcus 1-2 2-2 4; Hall,Loren 2-5
0-0 4; Lartey,Kwei 0-4 4-4 4; Brown,Brian 1-3 0-0 3; Sabiiti,Shema 1-3 0-0
2; Jeffers,Jamison 0-5 1-2 1; Callanan,Kyle 0-1 0-0 0; Martynow,Witalij 0-1
0-0 0. Totals 25-61 8-10 63.
Alante Fenner 6-11 6-8 20; Detrek Browning 8-19 2-3 20; Judah Alexander 4-7
3-3 11; Mike Davis Jr. 4-9 0-2 10; Samson Nnaji 0-1 2-2 2; Mykel Harris 0-2
1-2 1; Alex Bryant 0-0 0-0 0; Kenneth Jackson 0-2 0-0 0; David Jerome 0-0
0-0 0; A.J. Jackson 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 22-53 14-20 64.
Halftime: Francis Marion 36 Armstrong State 24

3-point goals--Armstrong State Univ 5-15 (Scott,Nicholas 3-6;
Mitchell,Shaquiell 1-2; Brown,Brian 1-1; Lartey,Kwei 0-1; Jeffers,Jamison
0-2; Callanan,Kyle 0-1; Graham,Herbert 0-2), Francis Marion University 6-21
(Mike Davis Jr. 2-7; Detrek Browning 2-8; Alante Fenner 2-4; A.J. Jackson
0-2). Fouled out--Armstrong State Univ-None, Francis Marion University-None.
Rebounds--Armstrong State Univ 36 (Mitchell,Shaquiell 7), Francis Marion
University 34 (Alante Fenner 9). Assists--Armstrong State Univ 20
(Jeffers,Jamison 11), Francis Marion University 14 (Alante Fenner 5). Total
fouls--Armstrong State Univ 19, Francis Marion University 18. Technical
fouls--None. A-625