FLORENCE, S.C. – The Francis Marion University men’s and women’s basketball teams will play host to Clayton College & State University on Family Day, Saturday afternoon.
The Peach Belt Conference doubleheader will begin with the women’s game tipping off at 2 p.m., followed by the men’s contest at 4 p.m. Admission is only $1.
The men’s contest will be a match-up of two 11-1 squads. The 18th-ranked FMU men rebounded from their first loss of the year (Dec. 30) with a 77-66 road win at Lander University on Wednesday. Clayton State’s lone loss was at the State University of West Georgia (70-64) on Dec. 13 and the Lakers responded by winning their next five games, all at home. This will be only the third road game of the year for CC&SU, although the Lakers have played two neutral-site contests, while Francis Marion will be playing in the Smith University Center for the first time since Nov. 25.
The Francis Marion frontline of Louis McCullough (16.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game), forward Randy Williams (12.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and center Jaquan Bracey (12.0 ppg, 9.3 rpg) leads the Patriot attack. In the first NCAA Division II national statistical report of 2004, released this week, Bracey ranked 28th nationally in field goal percentage (60.6%).
The Lakers are led by 6-9 junior center B.J. Puckett (13.7 ppg, 7.6 rpg) and 6-7 senior forward Craig Butts (13.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg). The Lakers, who lead the all-time series with FMU 7-2, are ranked 30th nationally in scoring (84.1 ppg), while Francis Marion is ranked 32nd in scoring defense, allowing only 64.6 ppg.
The FMU women are 6-3 overall and 0-1 in the PBC, while Clayton State is 8-4 and 0-1. Francis Marion swept a pair of games from the Laker women at the end of last season, including an upset victory in the opening round of the Peach Belt Tournament.
Sophomore 6-0 guard Danielle Moore (13.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg) and senior 5-10 forward Joanna Tincher (11.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg) lead FMU. Moore is also ranked 25th in the nation in blocked shots per game, with 18 in nine contests.
The Clayton State women dropped their PBC opener to second-ranked University of North Florida 55-45 on Wednesday, and are 3-3 in their last six games. Three Laker players average in double figures: junior guard Jamika Hindsman (12.8 ppg), junior 5-11 center Brandi Catia (11.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg), and junior 5-11 forward Apryl Brown (10.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg); and the squad is ranked 24th nationally in team field goal defense, holding opponents to only 33.8 percent shooting.
FMU shot 50.9 percent in Wednesday’s five-point loss to Lander. Dating back to last season, FMU has won nine of its last 11 games when attempting 60 or more shots, but the Patriots have not reached that figure in each of the past six games (3-3 record).
FMU leads the women’s all-time series 8-2.