FLORENCE, SC - The unbeaten Francis Marion University men’s and women’s basketball teams are currently taking a break to concentrate on final exams.
The two squads are off to the best-combined start in the school’s history: men 6-0 and women 4-0. Never before had both squads reached December undefeated. In 1978-79, the men opened 5-0 and the women 3-0, but the Patriot women did not play any games prior to December that season.
The Patriot men will return to action on Dec. 13 with a road game at Catawba College. Junior swingman Louis McCullough leads the squad in scoring with a 15.7 points per game average. With his 22-point, 11-rebound performance on Monday, McCullough surpassed 900 points for his career.
The FMU men have outrebounded 29 of their last 33 opponents dating back to last season, and only two of FMU’s last 33 opponents have shot above 46 percent from the field. As a team this season, FMU has nearly as many assists as turnovers (98 / 105). FMU has attempted 135 free throws in its opening six contests, nearly a third of its entire season total from 2002-03.
The Patriot women will play host to rival Wingate University, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Although the teams have met only eight times (FMU leads 5-3), the two programs battled for high stakes under NAIA affiliation during the 1980s.
Picked to finished 11th in the 12-team Peach Belt Conference according to the coaches’ pre-season poll, Francis Marion was among the “other schools receiving votes” in this week’s USA Today/ESPN/WBCA NCAA Division II Top 25 poll.
The Patriot women have won 91 of their last 104 home games in the Smith University Center. After dropping 13 straight games away from the Smith University Center, FMU has won five of its last six games away from Florence. FMU has won nine of its last 11 games when attempting 60 or more shots, and the Patriots have outrebounded each of its first four opponents this season.
Sophomore 6-0 guard Danielle Moore leads FMU in scoring (15.8 ppg) and rebounding (8.5 rebounds per game).