FLORENCE, S.C. – The Francis Marion University men’s and women’s basketball teams will play host to Columbus State University for a key Peach Belt Conference doubleheader, Saturday (Feb. 7) in the Smith University Center.
The women’s game will start at 2 p.m., followed by the men’s contest at 4 p.m.
The 16th-ranked FMU men (18-2 overall) currently hold a three-game lead in the PBC North Division standings with an 8-1 conference mark. CSU is 14-5 overall, following four straight wins, and is in second place in the PBC South at 7-2.
The men’s game will pit the PBC’s top offense, Columbus State at 82.9 points per game, against the top defense, Francis Marion allows only 62.3 ppg. Interestingly, Columbus State allows 72.8 ppg, while the Patriots are averaging 72.8 ppg. The Cougars also lead the conference in three-pointers made and attempted (199 of 588) and are averaging 10.5 three-pointers made per game, while FMU’s defense leads the Peach Belt in three-point percentage defense, allowing opponents only 28.0 percent.
FMU ranks 19th nationally in scoring defense and fourth in team field goal percentage defense, allowing opponents only 37.5 percent. CSU leads the all-time series 15-9, including wins each of the past two seasons. The Patriots’ last win over the Cougars in Florence came during the 1994-95 campaign.
FMU junior Louis McCullough is currently fourth in the PBC in scoring at 16.7 ppg, while Columbus State boasts the PBC’s top scorer in 5-11 junior guard Yandel Brown (23.9 ppg).
The Francis Marion women (10-8, 4-5) are looking to move up in the PBC North Division standings. The Patriots are currently third, two games behind second-place Augusta State University, and three games behind first-place Lander University. Sophomore Danielle Moore (12.4 ppg) leads a balanced Patriot scoring attack that has four players averaging in double figures. Senior center Joanna Tincher (10.3 ppg) leads the squad in rebounding (6.6 rebounds per game) and field goal percentage. Her shooting percentage of 54.2 percent ranks second in the PBC.
The CSU women are 10-9 overall and tied for third place in the PBC South with a 5-4 mark. Junior 6-1 center Karina Pulici (12.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and 5-11 sophomore forward Erin Gibbs (12.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg) lead the Lady Cougar attack. Pulici leads the conference in three-point field goals made.
FMU has dropped nine straight games to Columbus State, and trails in the all-time series 19-12. The Lady Cougars have ended FMU’s season with tournament losses each of the past four seasons, twice in the NCAA Division II Tournament Sweet Sixteen, and twice in the PBC Tournament. The Patriots’ last win over CSU was an 85-65 victory on Jan. 29, 2000, prior to any of the current FMU team members joining the program.