FLORENCE, SC – Junior 5-7 point guard Jaquez Smith scored a career-high 25 points and handed out a career-high equaling eight assists to propel Francis Marion University to a wire-to-wire 107-98 win over Clayton State University, Saturday afternoon (Feb. 9) in Peach Belt Conference men's basketball action.
With its third straight win, Francis Marion improves to 16-4 overall and 12-3 in conference play and remains in a tie for second-place in the PBC standings. The Patriots will entertain long-time rival Lander University on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Smith University Center.
Saturday's contest was the 1,000th game on the sidelines as a collegiate head coach for the Patriots' Gary Edwards, and his 576th victory.
Smith connected on 8-of-10 field goal attempts, including 4-of-6 from behind the three-point arc. Senior forward Je'Quan Perry scored a career-high 21 points, including hitting 5-of-8 from three-point range, while senior Brandon Parker also added 21 points to go along with six rebounds and six assists.
Parker, who had his school-record streak of made free throws end at 29 in the last game, was a perfect 10-of-10 at the stripe on Saturday as the Patriots finished 26-of-30 as a team.
Francis Marion shot 52.4 percent from the field, including 15-of-32 from long range.
Senior guard Aubrey McRae led Clayton State (8-13, 5-10) with 31 points and seven rebounds, while senior guard Justin Tuckson added 22 points, including six three-pointers.
A three-pointer by Davis gave FMU a 3-0 edge, a lead the Patriots would never relinquish. After a pair of Laker free throws, FMU answered with seven straight points to lead 10-2. A later 8-0 spurt pushed the margin to 25-11 with 12:16 left before halftime.
Clayton State trimmed the margin to seven (34-27) at the 6:17 mark of the opening half, but seven points by Parker fueled a 14-0 run that stretch the advantage to 21 points at 48-27. FMU held a 53-40 lead at halftime.
Francis Marion held the Lakers at bay through the opening 13 minutes of the second half, with the margin between nine and 15 points. Tuckson scored 19 of his 22 makers in the second half, including a three-pointer with 7:02 on the clock the cut the lead to 85-81.
FMU expanded its lead back to nine on three occasions, before the Lakers cut the margin to five (101-96) with 70 seconds left. A lay-in by Davis on the ensuing possession and two free throws by Perry extended the advantage to nine and helped seal the win.
Clayton State shot 61.3 percent over the final 20 minutes to finish at 56.1 percent for the game, including 12-of-21 from beyond the arc. The Lakers were 22-of-31 at the foul line.
The Patriots forced 16 Laker turnovers which were converted into 27 points. The Patriots also used 10 offensive rebounds to forge a 24-8 edge in second-chance points.
Post-game comments from FMU head coach Gary Edwards and junior guard Jaquez Smith
02/09/19 3:30 pm at Florence, SC (Smith University Center)
FRANCIS MARION 107, CLAYTON ST. 98
CLAYTON ST. (8-13 , 5-10)
McRae,Aubrey 10-18 8-13 31; Tuckson,Justin 8-13 0-0 22; Taylor,Jaylen 6-10
4-6 16; Kincey,Kyle 4-7 7-8 15; Nairn,Christoff 4-7 2-2 13; Saams Jr,Ricardo
0-0 1-2 1; Owens,JaCarl 0-1 0-0 0; Delgado,Savvon 0-1 0-0 0;
Joseph-Bryan,Gabriel 0-0 0-0 0; Hunter,Arusha 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-57 22-31 98.
FRANCIS MARION (16-4 , 12-3)
Jaquez Smith 8-10 5-7 25; Brandon Parker 4-10 10-10 21; Je'Quan Perry 7-12
2-2 21; Winston Hill 6-11 3-5 15; Ryan Davis 4-10 2-2 13; Kailex Stephens
2-5 2-2 6; Kendall Wall 2-4 2-2 6; Alex Cox 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 33-63 26-30 107.
Halftime: Francis Marion 53 Clayton St 40
3-point goals--Clayton St. 12-21 (Tuckson,Justin 6-8; Nairn,Christoff 3-5;
McRae,Aubrey 3-8), Francis Marion 15-32 (Je'Quan Perry 5-8; Jaquez Smith
4-6; Brandon Parker 3-8; Ryan Davis 3-5; Alex Cox 0-1; Kendall Wall 0-1;
Kailex Stephens 0-2; Winston Hill 0-1). Fouled out--Clayton St.-Kincey,Kyle;
Nairn,Christoff, Francis Marion-None. Rebounds--Clayton St. 28 (Kincey,Kyle
7; McRae,Aubrey 7), Francis Marion 32 (Winston Hill 8). Assists--Clayton St.
20 (Kincey,Kyle 7), Francis Marion 21 (Jaquez Smith 8). Total fouls--Clayton
St. 24, Francis Marion 22. Technical fouls--Clayton St.-Tuckson,Justin. A-951