Patriots return home to host UNCP in hoops twinbill
FLORENCE, S.C. – After concluding a three-game Peach Belt Conference road trip, the Francis Marion University men’s and women’s basketball teams return home to host local-rival UNC Pembroke on Wednesday evening (Jan. 14).
The conference twinbill will tip-off with the women’s game at 5:30 p.m. in the Smith University Center, followed by the men’s contest at 7:30 p.m.
The men’s game will be broadcast on WWFN-FM 100.1 The Fan, while both games will be carried live on Time Warner Cable channel 11 in Florence.
During the doubleheader, a drawing will be held early in the men’s game so one fan can have the opportunity to shoot a half-court shot to win $10,000. Fans will receive tickets upon entering the gym and one lucky fan will be chosen to take the half-court shot at halftime of the men’s game.
This event is to introduce the Carolina Automotive Cup competition between FMU and UNCP that will begin in the fall. These two closely located Peach Belt Conference rivals compete against each other in nine sports.
The Carolina Automotive Group, which includes Mullins Motors and Lumberton Ford Lincoln Mercury, has ties with the communities of both universities.
Entering Wednesday, the Patriot Women are 10-1 overall and 3-1 in the Peach Belt and will be looking to defend a seven-game home-court winning streak when they entertain UNCP (6-6, 2-3). Francis Marion leads the all-time series 34-17 and swept both meetings last season.
Junior guard Shana Franks and sophomore forward Shannon Singleton-Bates lead the Patriots in scoring with averages of 15.2 and 14.8 points per game respectively.
FMU continues to lead Division II in five statistical categories: scoring offense (94.8 ppg), scoring margin (+36.5 ppg), assists per game (20.2), steals per game (23.5), and turnover margin (+15.91 per game).
The Francis Marion men (9-2, 2-2) will be playing their first home game in nearly a month. The Braves (3-9, 0-5) are looking for their first conference win.
UNCP leads the all-time men’s series 32-25, but Francis Marion has won the last four meetings and seven of the last eight.
Senior forward Sam Smith paces four Patriots in double figures with a 13.5 ppg average. He is ranked 20th nationally in field goal percentage at 61.9 percent, while the Patriots squad is 14th nationally in rebounding margin (+9.8 rpg) and 29th in scoring offense (83.8 ppg).