FLORENCE, S.C. – The Francis Marion University men’s and women’s basketball teams will open the 2003 portion of their schedules with a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader at Armstrong Atlantic State University, Thursday evening (Jan. 2) in Savannah, Ga.
The women’s game will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. in AASU’s 5,000-seat Alumni Arena, followed by the men’s contest at 7:30 p.m. Both a live webcast and live in-game statistics from the two games can be viewed on the AASU website at http://www.athletics.armstrong.edu
The FMU men (5-3, 0-1), winners of five straight games, will be looking for their first six-game streak since the 1997-98 campaign. A win would equal the eighth-longest winning streak in team history. The Patriots have twice won nine straight games, eight games once, and seven games four times. Four previous times, FMU has won six consecutive games.
Four Patriots continue to average in doubles figures: junior Jaquan Bracey (14.6 ppg, 11.8 rpg), sophomore Louis McCullough (13.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), junior Randy Williams (11.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg), and junior Mike Buglione (11.4 ppg).
AASU has won only one of its opening eight games, including an 0-1 mark in the PBC. The Pirates feature three players scoring in double figures, led by 6-5 junior forward Daryl Williams (12.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg), despite averaging only 59.5 ppg as a team and shooting only 41.4 percent from the field.
The Pirates have won the last three meeting to even the all-time series at 10-10.
The FMU women (5-4, 0-1) are looking to rebound from two last-second losses in their last two outings. Francis Marion dropped a 63-61 decision to 21st-ranked Fort Valley State University and an 84-81 double overtime decision to Wingate University in AASU’s Chatham Orthopaedics Christmas Classic.
Senior 6-0 center Jontell Johnson continues to lead the young Patriot squad in both scoring (17.1 ppg) and rebounding (9.1 rpg). She is now second on the Patriot career blocked shots list with 185.
The AASU women have won six of their first seven games (prior to a Dec. 30 game against Valdosta State University) and own a 1-0 PBC record. Newcomers Tishay Lewis (14.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Tasha Washington (13.7 ppg) lead the Pirate attack. Lewis played two seasons at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, under the direction of former Francis Marion head coach Wes Moore, before transferring to AASU.
The Patriot women lead the all-time series 12-8.
Francis Marion is playing the first of five consecutive Peach Belt road doubleheaders. FMU’s next home games will be a PBC twinbill with Lander University on Jan. 18.