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Patriot Cagers Reach Top 5, Face Pirates at PBC Tourney

AUGUSTA, GA – The Francis Marion University men’s basketball team moved up four positions to No. 5 in the latest NABC/Division II Bulletin Top 25 poll, the highest ranking ever for a Patriot men’s hoops team.  FMU also learned Wednesday that it will face Armstrong Atlantic State University in its Peach Belt Tournament quarterfinal game on Friday at 1 p.m.

All FMU men’s games at the PBC Tournament will be broadcast by Cumulus Broadcasting Inc., and carried on Z100.1 (WWFN-FM) in Florence, WHSC-AM (1450) in Hartsville, and WYNB-AM (950) in Manning.

In addition to the national ranking, the 25-2 Patriots also share the top winning percentage among NCAA Division II men’s programs with top-ranked Metropolitan State University and fourth-ranked Pfeiffer University.  Fellow PBC member Kennesaw State University (26-4) is ranked behind the Patriots at No. 6.

FMU enters the Peach Belt Tournament as the North Division’s top seed and received a bye through Wednesday’s first round.  AASU (20-8) is the South Division’s fourth seed and defeated Lander University 74-69 in Wednesday’s opening round behind a combined 53 points from seniors Brian Bain and Daryl Williams.

Francis Marion defeated the Pirates 69-65 in Savannah, Ga., on Jan. 17 behind 23 points and 16 rebounds from senior forward Randy Williams.  AASU leads the all-time series 12-11, but this will be the first-ever meeting between the two original PBC members in the conference tournament.

Junior Louis McCullough leads the Patriots in scoring at 17.5 points per game.  The 6-6 Goose Creek native needs only six steals to become just the second Patriot to amass 1000 points, 600 rebounds, 100 blocks, and 100 steals, joining Terance Wood.  He is also only 16 points shy of the 1,300 plateau.

Williams is averaging 17.8 ppg over the past four contests, and 13.4 ppg for the season, while connecting on 57.3 percentage of his shots.

FMU is 4-10 in the nine PBC Tournaments it has appeared in.

The 14-12 FMU women’s basketball team will also face AASU in the women’s quarterfinals on Thursday at 3 p.m.  The Patriot women downed Clayton College and State University 65-63 on Tuesday, while the Lady Pirates (21-6) received a first-round bye as the South Division’s No. 2 seed.

NABC/Division II Bulletin Men’s Basketball Top 25 (3-2-04)

No.  Team                               Record

1.     Metropolitan State              25-2
2.     Tarleton State                     24-3
3.     Valdosta State                    24-2
4.     Pfeiffer                               25-2
5.     Francis Marion                   25-2
6.     Kennesaw State                26-4
7.     Nebraska-Kearney            24-3
8.     Cal. State San Bernardino  23-2
9.     Humboldt State                  22-5
10.   South Dakota State            25-5
11.   Washburn                          24-3
12.   California (Pa.)                  22-5
13.   Southern Indiana                22-5
14.   UMass-Lowell                   22-5
15.   Northwest Missouri            23-4
16.   Henderson State                 22-5
17.   Lewis                                 22-5
18.   Rollins                                23-4
19.   Christian Brothers               22-5
20.   Florida Gulf Coast              21-4
21.   Michigan Tech                    19-6
22.   Emporia State                     22-5
23.   Virginia Union                     25-4
24.   Bowie State                        22-5
25.   BYU Hawaii                       21-5


Last Published: May 10, 2004 12:37 PM
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