Nighthawks upend 25th-ranked Patriot Men

Nighthawks upend 25th-ranked Patriot Men

DAHLONEGA, GA – The 25th-ranked Francis Marion University men's basketball team erased an 18-point second-half deficit, but couldn't complete the comeback and fell 87-75 to the University of North Georgia in the opener of a three-game road trip, on Saturday (Feb. 16) in Peach Belt conference action.

The Patriots (17-5, 13-4) continue their three-game road swing on Monday (Feb. 18) as they visit Young Harris College at 7:30 p.m. FMU returns to the Smith University Center for Homecoming on Saturday, Feb. 23, to take on Flagler College at 3:30 p.m.

Freshman forward Kailex Stephens led Francis Marion in points with 19, and also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Senior guard Ryan Davis added 16, while senior Brandon Parker chipped in 14.

Junior guard Zez Steeple led the Nighthawks (9-14, 4-13) with a game-high 27 points. Senior guard Shawn Hopkins poured in 19 points and collected eight boards, while junior guard Ephraim Tshimanga added 16 points, nine rebounds, and a game-high six assists.

After Francis Marion scored the first four points of the contest, a 17-4 UNG run put the hosts in front by nine. A Tshimanga lay-in at the 11:22 mark pushed North Georgia's lead into double-figures for the first time at 22-11. The margin remained in double-digits for the remainder of the opening half, reaching as high as 21 when Hopkins converted a four-point play to make it 42-21 Nighthawks. UNG led 49-31 at intermission.

FMU began chipping away early in the second half, and used a 12-1 run, capped by a Parker three-pointer, to get within 56-54 with 10:43 remaining. A Stephens' free throw evened the score at 60-60, but a Tshimanga lay-in gave the Nighthawks the lead right back on the ensuing possession. Steeple drained a three-pointer to make it 67-63 at the 4:46 mark, and UNG led by multiple possessions for the remainder of the contest.

The Patriots connected on 39.7 percent of their field goal attempts in the contest, and knocked down 10-of-34 attempts from beyond the arc. North Georgia hit 48.3 percent from the floor, including 9-of-20 three pointers.

Francis Marion forced twice as many turnovers as it committed (18-9) and converted that into a 21-9 advantage in points scored off of turnovers.

 

02/16/19 3:30 pm at Dahlonega, GA
NORTH GEORGIA 87, #25 FRANCIS MARION 75
FRANCIS MARION (#25 17-5 , 13-4)
Kailex Stephens 6-14 3-6 19; Ryan Davis 6-12 4-5 16; Brandon Parker 5-12 1-3
14; Jaquez Smith 4-12 1-2 9; Je'Quan Perry 3-7 0-0 9; Winston Hill 2-8 2-4
6; Kendall Wall 1-2 0-0 2; Douglas Dwight 0-0 0-0 0; Alex Cox 0-1 0-0 0;
Gabriel Dickerson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-68 11-20 75.
NORTH GEORGIA (9-14 , 4-13)
Zezmon Steeple 7-13 7-11 27; Shawn Hopkins 5-14 7-8 19; Ephraim Tshimanga
7-14 2-3 16; De'Undra Singleton 2-4 4-4 8; Tyler Dean 2-4 2-4 6; Zach
Cottrell 2-5 0-1 4; Lanre Olatunji 2-3 0-0 4; Jack Howard 1-1 0-0 3. Totals
28-58 22-31 87.
Halftime: North Georgia 49 Francis Marion 31
3-point goals--Francis Marion 10-34 (Kailex Stephens 4-10; Je'Quan Perry
3-6; Brandon Parker 3-7; Winston Hill 0-3; Alex Cox 0-1; Jaquez Smith 0-4;
Ryan Davis 0-3), North Georgia 9-20 (Zezmon Steeple 6-10; Shawn Hopkins 2-7;
Jack Howard 1-1; Zach Cottrell 0-2). Fouled out--Francis Marion-Kendall
Wall, North Georgia-None. Rebounds--Francis Marion 28 (Kailex Stephens 7),
North Georgia 51 (Tyler Dean 10). Assists--Francis Marion 5 (Ryan Davis 3),
North Georgia 16 (Ephraim Tshimanga 6). Total fouls--Francis Marion 25,
North Georgia 16. Technical fouls--None. A-300