Valiant effort falls just short in 66-60 road loss

Valiant effort falls just short in 66-60 road loss

PEMBROKE, NC – Francis Marion University made up every point of a 19-point first half deficit and had six second-half opportunities to take the lead, but eventually fell 66-60 to 23rd-ranked UNC Pembroke, Wednesday night (Feb. 21) in Peach Belt Conference men's basketball action.

FMU (18-8, 13-8) sees its five-game winning streak snapped, but the Patriots still secured the third seed for next week's tournament with Augusta University's win over USC Aiken. Francis Marion will play its season-finale and Senior Day contest against Georgia College on Saturday. Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. in the Smith University Center.

Senior guard Detrek Browning led FMU with 18 points and with 2,272 points the Columbia native draws within 61 points of the PBC career mark. Junior swingman Brandon Parker scored 14, while senior Warren Specht added eight points.

James Murray-Boyles led UNCP (22-5, 18-3) with 18 points, while Nigel Grant chipped in 13 and Akia Pruitt 11.

The Braves scored 18 of the game's first 23 points and eventually led 30-11.  An 11-2 run by Francis Marion closed the gap to 32-22 after a fast-break jumper by Parker with 3:37 left before halftime.  UNCP would hold a 39-26 lead at intermission.

A three-point play by the Braves to open the second stanza created a 16-point margin, but the Patriots produced a 17-3 run to cut the deficit to 45-43 after a Parker three-pointer off a Browning assist with 12:50 on the clock.  FMU would finally knot the score 53-53 on a top-of-the-key three-pointer by Specht with 7:51 left.

Over the next six minutes, Francis Marion would have six possessions with a chance to take the lead but could not convert.  A follow-up bucket by Specht brought FMU to within 59-58 with 1:27 left.  A three-pointer from the left corner by David Strother pushed the Braves lead to four and a dunk by Murray-Boyles produced a 64-58 lead and sealed the outcome.

Francis Marion connected on 36.7 percent of its field goal attempts, including 7-of-26 from three-point range, and hit 9-of-12 free throws.  UNCP shot 41.9 percent from the floor, was 6-of-20 from long range, and made 8-of-13 free throws.

                      

2-21-18 7:30 p.m. at Pembroke, N.C. (Lumbee Bank Court)
#23 UNC PEMBROKE 66, FRANCIS MARION 60
FRANCIS MARION (18-8, 13-8 PBC)
Detrek Browning 8-18 0-0 18; Brandon Parker 4-14 3-4 14; Warren Specht 3-9
0-0 8; Kingsley Nwagboso 2-4 1-2 5; Jaquez Smith 2-6 1-2 5; Judah Alexander
1-4 2-2 4; Ryan Davis 1-1 2-2 4; Kendall Wall 1-2 0-0 2; John Jenkins 0-0
0-0 0; Victor Hunt 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 22-60 9-12 60.
UNC PEMBROKE (22-5, 18-3 PBC)
James Murray-Boyles 9-13 0-0 18; Nigel Grant 4-14 4-5 13; Akia Pruitt 5-11
1-2 11; David Strother 2-6 2-2 8; Brandon Watts 2-7 1-2 6; Tyrell Kirk 2-8
0-2 6; Micah Kinsey 2-3 0-0 4; Jamal Bryant 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-62 8-13 66.
Francis Marion................   26   34  -   60
UNC Pembroke..................   39   27  -   66
3-point goals--Francis Marion 7-26 (Brandon Parker 3-9; Warren Specht 2-5;
Detrek Browning 2-8; Victor Hunt 0-1; Jaquez Smith 0-3), UNC Pembroke 6-20
(Tyrell Kirk 2-5; David Strother 2-5; Brandon Watts 1-4; Nigel Grant 1-4;
James Murray-Boyles 0-2). Fouled out--Francis Marion-None, UNC
Pembroke-None. Rebounds--Francis Marion 37 (Warren Specht 7), UNC Pembroke
40 (Brandon Watts 7; Nigel Grant 7). Assists--Francis Marion 10 (Detrek
Browning 3), UNC Pembroke 21 (Micah Kinsey 6). Total fouls--Francis Marion
16, UNC Pembroke 11. Technical fouls--Francis Marion-Team. A-1059