FLORENCE, S.C. – The Francis Marion University men’s and women’s basketball teams will play host to Kennesaw State University, Saturday afternoon in a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader that will include a visit by the defending NCAA Division II men’s national champions to the Smith University Center.
The twinbill will open with the women’s game at 2 p.m., followed by the men’s contest at 4 p.m.
The men’s game will feature a match-up of the two squads that battled for last year’s PBC title. KSU was 35-4 last season en route to winning the Division II national title. The Owls handed a 27-4 FMU squad two of its four defeats in 2003-04, including a nine-point decision in the national tournament’s Sweet Sixteen. This will be the first time the Patriot men have hosted a game in the Smith University Center against a defending national champion.
Currently, the FMU men are 8-9 overall and 3-4 in the PBC, occupying third place in the North Division standings. KSU is ranked 16th nationally with a 14-3 overall mark and a 4-2 conference record. This will be the Patriots’ second straight game against a nationally ranked opponent, following Wednesday’s loss to No. 15 USC Upstate. FMU’s last home win over a ranked opponent came on Feb. 13, 1999, with a 69-55 victory over 21st-ranked Georgia College & State University.
The Patriots are led in both scoring and rebounding by 6-6 senior forward Louis McCullough (15.0 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game). Last Wednesday, he passed former Patriot center Terance Wood and moved into third place on the Patriot career scoring list with 1,571 points, 28 points shy of Allen Floyd’s second-place total. Junior point guard Michael Jenkins is also averaging in double figures at 10.1 ppg, while leading the Patriots in assists at 4.6 assists per contest.
Senior 6-5 guard Rey Luque (15.3 ppg) and senior 6-8, 310-pound, center Cardale Talley (14.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg) pace the Owls’ attack. KSU has won its last seven meetings with FMU and leads the all-time series 12-7.
The Patriot women (6-12, 2-5) will be looking to avoid a second straight PBC home loss when they take on the Lady Owls (10-7, 2-4). KSU has beaten the Patriots three straight times and leads the series 10-5.
Freshman 5-10 forward Creshenda Singletary (14.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg) leads three Patriots scoring in double figures, followed by 6-0 junior forward Danielle Moore (10.3 ppg) and senior guard Jennifer Howard (10.2 ppg). Howard recently moved into a tie for 27th place (with Kendra Rowland) on the Patriot career scoring list with 809 points, while also assuming 14th place on the career assists list with 225.
Junior 5-11 forward Shavonder Clarke leads the Lady Owls with averages of 15.9 ppg and 8.5 rpg. KSU guard Dominika Miezkowska leads the PBC in assists at 6.1 apg, while FMU freshman Brittany Young is second at 5.2 apg. KSU 6-3 freshman center Lauren Harris leads the nation in blocks shots with 4.9 swats per game.
This could be the final meeting between the two programs, as Kennesaw State leaves the Peach Belt and joins the NCAA Division I Atlantic Sun Conference this fall.