GREENWOOD, SC – Senior guard Ryan Davis scored 19 of his 21 points in the first half and senior forward Brandon Parker poured in 18 of his 22 after halftime to carry Francis Marion University to a 93-83 win at Lander University, Wednesday night (Jan. 16) in Peach Belt Conference men's basketball action.
The victory improves Francis Marion's record to 10-2 overall, and 6-1 in conference play, which is one win shy of the second-best start in PBC play (7-1) in program history. The Patriots started both the 2003-04 and 2009-10 seasons 7-1 in Peach Belt play. The best start for FMU was 10-1 during the 1997-98 campaign.
Francis Marion's win is its fourth straight against Lander (5-10, 4-5), and it also keeps FMU in a tie for second in the Peach Belt standings with UNC Pembroke. The two rivals, who met four times last season, including in the NCAA Tournament, meet for the first time this season on Wednesday, Jan. 30, in Pembroke, N.C.
The Patriots return to the Smith University Center on Saturday (Jan. 19) at 3:30 p.m. as they begin a three-game home stand against Georgia Southwestern State University.
Davis scored his 19 first-half points on 7-of-10 shooting, including making 3-for-4 from beyond the arc. He also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds. Parker made all four of his second-half field goal attempts, including a trio of three-pointers, and knocked down 7-of-10 from the foul line for his 18 second-half points.
The three other Francis Marion starters all scored in double-figures as well, with freshman forward Kailex Stephens scoring 17, senior forward Je'Quan Perry adding 13, and junior guard Jaquez Smith chipping in 11.
Junior forward Marquel Wiggins paced Lander with a game-high 29 points. Sophomore forward DeShundre Rucker had 17, and junior swingman Elijah Alston added nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
After the Bearcats took a slight early edge, Davis converted a three-point play to give Francis Marion its first lead at 9-7. The senior guard then connected on a three-pointer to put the Patriots back on top at 12-9, an advantage they did not relinquish for the remainder of the night. The margin rose to as many as eight on a pair of occasions in the opening stanza, and Davis hit a triple in the waning seconds of the half to give the Patriots a 46-40 halftime edge.
In the opening minutes of the second half, FMU stretched its advantage into double-digits for the first time after back-to-back layups by Davis and Smith made it 57-46. At the 16:18 mark, a Stephens' layup extended the Patriots lead to 62-48, their largest of the contest.
Francis Marion led 76-66 with just under nine minutes to play when Lander began to make a run. Back-to-back baskets by Wiggins brought the Bearcats within six, and following a free throw by FMU junior forward Kendall Wall, Lander scored the next four points to whittle the margin to three, 77-74, with 6:32 to play. The Patriots quickly countered with seven straight of their own, six of which came from Perry, to restore a double-digit advantage. FMU led by six or more for the remainder of the game.
The Patriots went 30-for-63 (47.6 percent) from the field for the night, and made 10-of-27 three-point attempts. FMU connected on 23-of-31 from the charity stripe, and have made 20 or more free throws in six straight games. Lander shot 50.8 percent (32-for-63) from the floor, but was held to one make on nine three-point tries. The Bearcats made 18-of-24 free throw attempts.
01/16-19 07:30 PM at Greenwood, SC (Finis Horne Arena)
FRANCIS MARION 93, LANDER 83
FRANCIS MARION (10-2, 6-1)
Brandon Parker 5-6 9-12 22; Ryan Davis 8-13 2-3 21; Kailex Stephens 6-15 3-5
17; Je'Quan Perry 4-7 3-3 13; Jaquez Smith 3-12 5-6 11; Winston Hill 3-8 0-0
6; Kendall Wall 1-2 1-2 3; Gabriel Dickerson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-63 23-31 Halftime: 93.
LANDER (5-10, 4-5)
Marquel Wiggins 12-18 5-6 29; DeShundre Rucker 7-13 3-6 17; Elijah Alston
3-6 3-4 9; Sidney Robinson 2-11 4-4 8; Morris Robinson Jr. 4-6 0-0 8; Rahu
Purdie 2-4 2-2 7; Codrin Cobzaru 2-3 0-0 4; Justin Holliday 0-0 1-2 1;
Jordan Dingle 0-2 0-0 0; TJ Knight 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-63 18-24 83.
Halftime: Francis Marion 46 Lander 40
3-point goals--Francis Marion 10-27 (Ryan Davis 3-4; Brandon Parker 3-4;
Je'Quan Perry 2-5; Kailex Stephens 2-7; Kendall Wall 0-1; Jaquez Smith 0-6),
Lander 1-9 (Rahu Purdie 1-1; Elijah Alston 0-3; Sidney Robinson 0-4; Jordan
Dingle 0-1). Fouled out--Francis Marion-None, Lander-None. Rebounds--Francis
Marion 35 (Ryan Davis 9), Lander 32 (Elijah Alston 11). Assists--Francis
Marion 12 (Ryan Davis 3; Jaquez Smith 3), Lander 16 (Morris Robinson Jr. 4).
Total fouls--Francis Marion 17, Lander 19. Technical fouls--Brandon Parker,
DeShundre Rucker. A-649