Patriots unable to overcome cold-shooting first half

Patriots unable to overcome cold-shooting first half

FLORENCE, SC – Francis Marion University forwards Kailex Stephens (22) and Brandon Parker (21) combined for 43 points, but Francis Marion University was unable to overcome a cold-shooting first half and the Patriots fell to Augusta University 81-76, Wednesday night (Jan. 23) in Peach Belt Conference men's basketball action.

The loss snaps a five-game winning streak for Francis Marion, which drops to 12-3 overall and 8-2 in the PBC.  The Patriots, who received votes in this week's NABC Top-25 poll, are now tied with Augusta and UNC Pembroke for second place in the Peach Belt.

FMU will travel to Flagler College on Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. tip-off.  The next home contest will be Feb. 2 against Georgia College at 3:30 p.m.

Stephens hauled down a team-high 11 rebounds for the fourth double-double of his young career. Senior guard Ryan Davis scored 13 points, while senior Je'Quan Perry chipped in 11.

Parker climbed another rungs on the Patriot career scoring list and now stands 17th with 1,045 points.

Freshman guard Tyree Myers paced Augusta (12-4, 8-2) with 17 points, while freshman guard Miguel Arnold scored 14.  Aaron Byrd and Rafael Monteiro each registered 13 points and senior forward Deane Williams posted his own double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

The Patriots, who entered the game with the fifth-best scoring offense in NCAA Division II at 91.6 points per game, missed 19 of their first 20 field goal attempts and fell behind 29-8 with 8:30 left before halftime.  The margin was 20 points at 39-19 before FMU close the first half with a 7-0 spurt over the final 58 seconds to close within 39-26.  Perry and Stephens each hit three-pointers in that run after the Patriots had missed their first nine attempts from behind the arc.

Francis Marion quickly trimmed the margin under double figures at 41-32 following a free throw by Perry with 17:18 on the clock.  FMU closed to within eight points on several occasions, the final time at 53-45, before Augusta extended the margin to 56-45.

A pair of free throws by Perry and a three-pointer by Stephens brought the Patriots to within 56-50 with 11:18 left.  Four straight free throws (2 by Parker and 2 by Perry) further cut the deficit to 58-54 at the midway point of the second half.

Following a turnover by the Jaguars, Parker missed a three-pointer that would have made the margin one.  A trio of three-pointers fueled an 11-2 run by Augusta that pushed the lead back to 69-56 with 6:12 remaining.

A pair of free throws by Myers extended the advantage to 16 points (74-58) with 4:09 left.  A desperate rally by FMU cut the lead to a single possession at 79-76 following a fast-break three-pointer by Parker that banked in with 16 ticks left.

Tyvez Monroe sealed the Jaguar victory with a free throw on the ensuing possession.

Francis Marion warmed up in the second stanza to finish the game shooting finished 31.3 percent, including 9-of-28 from behind the arc.  The Patriots stayed close by hitting 25-of-30 free throws.  Augusta connected on 60.5 percent of its field goal attempts, including 9-of-15 from deep, and the Jaguars were 20-of-28 at the free throw stripe.

FMU did force 10 more turnovers than it committed, but held only a 16-14 edge in points-off-turnovers.  The Patriots also held a 23-7 advantage in second-chance points, helped by 17 offensive rebounds.


Post-game comments from FMU head coach Gary Edwards


01/23/19 7:30 pm at Florence, SC (Smith University Center)
AUGUSTA (12-4 , 8-2)
Tyree Myers 4-6 7-9 17; Miguel Arnold 4-7 2-4 14; Rafael Monteiro 6-9 1-4
13; Aaron Byrd 4-4 3-3 13; Deane Williams 3-5 6-6 12; Darren Lucas-White 4-6
0-0 8; Tyvez Monroe 1-3 1-2 4; Troy Cracknell 0-3 0-0 0; Robert Barlund 0-0
0-0 0; Shawn Moss 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-43 20-28 81.
FRANCIS MARION (12-3 , 8-2)
Kailex Stephens 9-22 1-1 22; Brandon Parker 5-12 8-8 21; Ryan Davis 3-8 7-9
13; Je'Quan Perry 2-5 5-6 11; Jaquez Smith 1-10 2-2 5; Winston Hill 0-4 2-2
2; Kendall Wall 1-3 0-2 2; Douglas Dwight 0-3 0-0 0; Alex Cox 0-0 0-0 0;
Gabriel Dickerson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-67 25-30 76.
Halftime: Augusta 39 Francis Marion 26.
3-point goals--Augusta 9-15 (Miguel Arnold 4-7; Aaron Byrd 2-2; Tyree Myers
2-3; Tyvez Monroe 1-2; Troy Cracknell 0-1), Francis Marion 9-28 (Brandon
Parker 3-7; Kailex Stephens 3-9; Je'Quan Perry 2-3; Jaquez Smith 1-4;
Kendall Wall 0-1; Winston Hill 0-2; Ryan Davis 0-2). Fouled
out--Augusta-None, Francis Marion-Jaquez Smith; Ryan Davis.
Rebounds--Augusta 34 (Deane Williams 12), Francis Marion 36 (Kailex Stephens
11). Assists--Augusta 13 (Tyree Myers 8), Francis Marion 11 (Jaquez Smith
4). Total fouls--Augusta 23, Francis Marion 22. Technical fouls--None. A-1005