Patriots storm past Hurricanes
Career days from junior forward Langston Gaither and senior guard Holden Redparth helped guide Francis Marion to an 88-74 victory over previously unbeaten Georgia Southwestern on Saturday. The Patriots made 17 three-pointers, the most triples by a Patriot squad in three seasons and equaling the sixth most in school history.
Francis Marion (1-1, 1-1) will play its next two games on the road at Lander on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and at North Georgia on Jan. 16 at 5:30 p.m. The next home contest for the Patriots will be against USC Aiken on Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Gaither, an Alexandria, Va., native, continued to give opposing teams fits as he racked up a career and team-high 26 points to go along with five assists and four rebounds. He was 10-of-17 from the field, including 3-of-6 from behind the arc, while shooting 3-of-4 from the free-throw line. His counterpart, Redparth, scored a career-high 24 points with five rebounds and four steals. He was 8-of-15 from the field, including shooting 71.4 percent from behind the three-point line (5-of-7) and making 3-of-4 from the charitystripe.
The duo was followed by junior guard Alex Cox who registered 13 points and a career-high equaling seven rebounds, and sophomore forward Darius Dawson with 10 points and seven rebounds. Dawson is a product of West Florence High School.
Georgia Southwestern (3-1, 1-1) was led by senior guard Kahlon Whitley with 22 points and a team-high five assists. He was followed by forward Baris Ulker with 17 points and six rebounds.
Francis Marion scored the game's first basket and never trailed. The Patriots proceeded to go on a 13-2 run to open the game. Later a 14-2 spurt by the Patriots – capped by a three-point by Cox – opened a 29-14 advantage with 10:54 left before halftime.
FMU and GSW battled back-and-forth before the Hurricanes drew within single figures thanks to a 12-3 run that made the score 32-26 with 6:17 left in the first half. GSW pulled within 38-33, but the Patriots found the hot hand in the final moments of the half and Redparth drained a three-pointer as the buzzer sounded to send the Patriots to the locker room up 11 points (47-36).
The Patriots came out of the locker room strong, battling back-and-forth with the Hurricanes. Only twice in the second stanza did the margin dip under double figures. Despite foul trouble, FMU began to pull away thanks to an 18-6 run that resulted in an 82-60 lead.
Francis Marion shot 49.2 percent from the floor, including the 17-of-37 effort from long range, while holding The Hurricanes to only 44.8 percent shooting.