FLORENCE, SC – The Francis Marion University men’s and women’s basketball teams will play host to Lander University for a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader on Wednesday (Jan. 5) evening.
The women’s game will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. in the Smith University Center, followed by the men’s contest at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students with FMU students being admitted free with a valid identification card.
The game will be streamed on the internet at http://fmu.nmtvsports.com/
The Francis Marion women are 7-3 and looking for their first PBC win of the young season, while Lander (13-0, 3-0) is ranked second in the most recent USA TODAY ESPN Division II Top 25 Coaches’ Poll released on Tuesday. FMU was among the other schools receiving votes in the poll.
FMU leads the all-time women’s series 51-22. The two programs have evenly split the last eight meetings. The series dates back to Francis Marion’s second-ever game in 1974, a 56-32 Patriot win at West Florence High School (before the completion of the on-campus gym).
Lander will be the highest ranked women’s opponent to ever visit the Smith University Center. The highest ranked opponent to fall to the Patriots was second-ranked Bentley College, which lost to Francis Marion 69-68 at the 1998 Disney Tip-Off Classic in Florida.
Senior Shannon Singleton-Bates leads FMU, and is second in the Peach Belt, with a 19.9 points per game average. She is currently 12th on the Patriot career scoring list with 1,414 points, just 53 points shy of former forward Martha Williamson who occupies 11th place.
The Lander starting line-up includes a pair of Florence natives: senior forwards Shannon McKever (18.5 ppg, 10.5 rpg) and Tasheba Butler (8.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg). McKever is a product of South Florence High School and Butler hails from Wilson High School.
The FMU men are 7-2 overall and 1-1 in the PBC, while Lander is 6-4 and 0-3.
Junior 6-5 forward Liki Turner leads five Patriots scoring in double figures with a 16.0 ppg average. Senior 6-6 forward Simel Boyd is averaging 14.8 ppg and 7.9 rpg, while freshman guard Evrik Gary is adding 14.7 ppg. Boyd leads the PBC in steals per game (2.4), while Gary is the best free throw shooter in the conference and second in the nation at 97.0 percent. FMU is also the top scoring team in the conference (9th nationally) with an 88.4 ppg average.
Lander leads the all-time series 45-38, but FMU swept both contests last season. This is the most-visited series in the history of FMU men’s basketball and it dates back to the third-ever game for the Patriots (and first-ever home game), a 127-72 loss on Nov. 23, 1970, at Southside High School.
Sophomore swingman David Pruett leads the Bearcats with a 16.6 ppg average.
Wednesday’s twinbill begins a three-game home stand for the Patriots that will also feature Augusta State University on Saturday afternoon (Jan. 8) and USC Aiken on Jan. 12.