Second-half shooting clinic pushes Patriots past UNCP 80-72

Second-half shooting clinic pushes Patriots past UNCP 80-72

FLORENCE, SC – Junior point guard Jaquez Smith and freshman forward Kailex Stephens combined for 34 second-half points and Francis Marion University shot 70.8 from the floor over the final 20 minutes to earn an 80-72 victory over UNC Pembroke, Wednesday night (Feb. 27) in Peach Belt Conference men's basketball action.

The Patriots improve to 20-6 overall, the program's second straight 20-win campaign, the first time that has happen since the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons.  The squad also improved to 16-5 in the PBC, a school record for conference wins, and locked up the third seed for next week's Peach Belt Conference Tournament.

FMU will conclude its regular season on Sunday with a road game at Georgia College.  Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m.  The Patriots will then host a PBC Quarterfinal game on Wednesday, March 6, at 7 p.m.

Smith scored 19 of his team-high 21 points in the second half, while Stephens notched 15 of his 19 points after halftime. Smith made 8 of his 11 shots, while Stephens was 8-of-12, including 3-of-4 from behind the three-point arc.  Stephens also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

Senior guard Ryan Davis scored 15 points and senior forwards Brandon Parker and Je'Quan Perry each chipped in nine points.  The trio was honored in pre-game Senior Night ceremonies. 

Francis Marion connected on 17-of-24 field goal attempts in the second half, including 7-of-12 from three-point range, and made 7-of-8 free throw attempts.

Senior forward James Murray-Boyles led UNCP (19-8, 14-7) with 21 points and eight rebounds, while junior Micah Kinsey added 16 points, eight boards, eight steals, and seven assists.

The two teams were separated by no more than five points during the first half.  A three-pointer from the left side by Davis with three seconds left on the clock gave FMU a 32-27 advantage at intermission.

A dunk by Murray-Boyles brought the Braves to within 40-38 with 14:51 left in the contest, but Francis Marion responded with a 10-2 run to open a 50-40 advantage with 11:48 on the clock.

A three-pointer by Parker expanded the margin to 12 at 60-48 with 6:56 remaining, but UNCP rallied to trim the lead to 70-65 at the 2:39 mark.  A basket in the paint by Davis and a steal by the Cartersville, Ga., native on the ensuing possession ignited a 6-0 spurt that put the Patriots on top 76-65.

The Braves got to within 76-70 with just under a minute left, but Smith drained a pair of free throws to seal the outcome.

For the game, FMU shot 51.8 percent from the field, was 12-of-24 on three-point attempts, and hit 10-of-12 free throws.  While the Braves did connect on 43.3 percent of their shots, they managed only 3-of-19 from long range, and made only 11-of-18 charity tosses.


Post-game comments from FMU head coach Gary Edwards

02/27/19 7:30 pm at Florence, SC (Smith University Center)
UNC PEMBROKE (19-8 , 14-7)
James Murray-Boyles 8-17 4-4 21; Micah Kinsey 7-10 2-2 16; Akia Pruitt 6-10
2-4 14; David Strother 5-11 0-2 11; Tyrell Kirk 1-5 2-2 5; Spencer Levi 1-1
1-4 3; Jamal Bryant 1-6 0-0 2; Carson Mounce 0-0 0-0 0; Jayvian Hicks 0-0
0-0 0; Cam Hamilton 0-7 0-0 0. Totals 29-67 11-18 72.
FRANCIS MARION (20-6 , 16-5)
Jaquez Smith 8-11 3-4 21; Kailex Stephens 8-12 0-0 19; Ryan Davis 5-8 2-2
15; Je'Quan Perry 2-6 4-4 9; Brandon Parker 3-10 0-0 9; Winston Hill 3-5 0-0
6; Kendall Wall 0-4 1-2 1; Douglas Dwight 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-56 10-12 80.
Halftime: Francis Marion 32 UNCP 27
3-point goals--UNC Pembroke 3-19 (David Strother 1-3; Tyrell Kirk 1-2; James
Murray-Boyles 1-5; Jamal Bryant 0-1; Cam Hamilton 0-6; Akia Pruitt 0-2),
Francis Marion 12-24 (Ryan Davis 3-5; Kailex Stephens 3-4; Brandon Parker
3-6; Jaquez Smith 2-4; Je'Quan Perry 1-3; Kendall Wall 0-2). Fouled out--UNC
Pembroke-None, Francis Marion-Winston Hill. Rebounds--UNC Pembroke 36 (Micah
Kinsey 8; James Murray-Boyles 8), Francis Marion 29 (Kailex Stephens 9).
Assists--UNC Pembroke 13 (Micah Kinsey 7), Francis Marion 14 (Je'Quan Perry
5). Total fouls--UNC Pembroke 16, Francis Marion 16. Technical fouls--None. A-1098