FLORENCE, SC – Freshman 6-7 center Winston Hill converted a four-point play with 3:15 remaining to break an 82-82 deadlock and Francis Marion University went on to grab a 96-88 victory over Young Harris College, Wednesday night (March 6) in a quarterfinal game in the 2019 Peach Belt Conference Men's Basketball Tournament.
The third-seeded Patriots improve to 21-7 and advance to face second-seeded USC Aiken on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the tournament semifinals in Augusta, Ga. It marks the second straight year FMU has advanced to the semifinals. The sixth-seeded Mountain Lions end their season at 13-16.
Francis Marion tied a school record by placing seven players in double figures. Senior forward Je'Quan Perry led the way with 16 points, while senior Brandon Parker added 15, junior Douglas Dwight 13, junior Kendall Wall 13, freshman Kailex Stephens 12, Hill 11, and junior point guard Jaquez Smith 10.
Dwight's point total, a new career high, all came in the opening 20 minutes as he drained a trio of three-pointers. Smith also handed out a career-high nine assists and in the process passed Will Tucker for 11th position on the Patriot career list with 241 assists – only nine outside of the Top-10. Parker led the Patriots with seven rebounds.
Junior guard Brian Harper, the nation's assists leader, paced Young Harris with 21 points and 10 assists. Paul Miller came off the Mountain Lion bench to tally 19 points.
Hill's four-point play, a three-pointer from the left corner and the ensuing free throw, was part of a 10-0 FMU run that erased an 82-78 Young Harris lead. Hill also had a dunk that knotted the score at 82-82.
The Mountain Lions would never get closer than four after Hill's play and the Patriots made 8-of-8 free throws (six by Parker) in the final 38 seconds to seal the win.
In the opening half, Francis Marion trailed only at 2-0 and the Patriots quickly made that up with back-to-back three pointers by Perry and Stephens. FMU would stretch its advantage to 20-11 after a jumper by Smith with 14:48 on the clock. The Patriots again led by nine, at 36-27, following a three-pointer by Parker with 4:48 left before halftime. Young Harris scored five of the half's final seven points to draw within 43-38 at intermission.
A Stephens' bucket in the paint to open the second stanza expanded FMU's lead to seven, but Young Harris responded with an 18-4 run that catapulted the Mountain Lions to a 56-49 lead. The deficit grew to eight, at 72-64, with 8:28 left in the contest, but eight straight points by the Patriots in a 50-second span tied the game.
Young Harris would re-assume the lead and take a four-point lead at 78-74, 80-76, and 82-78 setting the stage for Francis Marion's rally. The Patriots were 15-of-15 at the charity stripe over the final 20 minutes, while Young Harris was 0-of-2.
Francis Marion finished the game shooting 43.8 percent, including 16-of-41 from behind the three-point arc, and FMU connected on 16-of-20 free throws. The Mountain Lions shot 48.6 percent, including 9-of-26 from long range, and made 7-of-11 shots at the foul line.
FMU forced 15 Mountain Lion miscues and held an 18-6 edge in points-off-turnovers.
Post-game comments from FMU head coach Gary Edwards and freshman center Winston Hill
03/06/19 7:00 pm at Florence, SC (Smith University Center)
FRANCIS MARION 96, YOUNG HARRIS 88
YOUNG HARRIS (13-16)
Brian Harper 8-13 4-4 21; Paul Miller 7-13 2-4 19; Justin Jones 8-19 0-0 18;
Ryle Owens 6-15 0-0 12; Nicksen Blanc 2-4 1-2 5; Seth McCoy 2-4 0-0 5; J.J.
Flores 1-1 0-0 3; Troy Cagle 1-3 0-0 3; James Laput 1-2 0-1 2. Totals 36-74
FRANCIS MARION (21-7)
Je'Quan Perry 7-11 0-0 16; Brandon Parker 3-10 8-8 15; Douglas Dwight 5-8
0-0 13; Kendall Wall 4-6 2-3 13; Kailex Stephens 5-11 0-2 12; Winston Hill
3-6 3-3 11; Jaquez Smith 4-15 0-0 10; Ryan Davis 1-5 3-4 6; Alex Cox 0-1 0-0
0; Jalen Jordan 0-0 0-0 0; Gabriel Dickerson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-73 16-20 96.
Halftime: Francis Marion 43 Young Harris 38
3-point goals--Young Harris 9-26 (Paul Miller 3-6; Justin Jones 2-8; Brian
Harper 1-2; Troy Cagle 1-3; Seth McCoy 1-3; J.J. Flores 1-1; Ryle Owens
0-3), Francis Marion 16-41 (Kendall Wall 3-4; Douglas Dwight 3-5; Kailex
Stephens 2-6; Je'Quan Perry 2-5; Winston Hill 2-4; Jaquez Smith 2-8; Brandon
Parker 1-6; Ryan Davis 1-2; Alex Cox 0-1). Fouled out--Young Harris-Ryle
Owens, Francis Marion-None. Rebounds--Young Harris 40 (Nicksen Blanc 7),
Francis Marion 42 (Brandon Parker 7). Assists--Young Harris 16 (Brian Harper
10), Francis Marion 20 (Jaquez Smith 9). Total fouls--Young Harris 20,
Francis Marion 16. Technical fouls--Young Harris-None, Francis Marion-None.