FLORENCE, SC. — A 14-7 run by USC Aiken over the final 6:02 was enough to rally the Pacers past Francis Marion University 70-66, Wednesday night (Jan. 20) in Peach Belt Conference men’s basketball action.
Francis Marion (2-3, 2-3) will play host to Young Harris College on Saturday. The women’s game will tip-off at 1:30 p.m. followed by the men’s contest. Attendance will again be limited to 250 – only season ticket holders, player/staff family members identified on a pre-game pass list, and a limited number of students. No general admission game-day tickets will be sold.
Junior forward Langston Gaither, the conference’s second-leading scorer, led FMU with 27 points while also dishing out a team-high five assists. Senior swingman Holden Redparth, the PBC’s third-leading scorer, tallied 11 points and five rebounds before fouling out with 4:46 remaining.
Patriot junior Alex Cox added seven points, while sophomore forward Darius Dawson, a West Florence High School product, added six points and pulled down a career-high 14 rebounds. Freshman guard Ja’Von Anderson also scored six points.
Senior 6-7 forward Anyeuri Castillo led USCA (4-2, 3-1) with 16 points, while both Latreavin Black (14 points, 13 rebounds) and Jakobi Pearson (11 points, 10 rebounds) posted double-doubles.
FMU led by as many as nine, 27-18 after a banked-in three-pointer from the top of the key by Dawson at the 5:05 mark, during the opening half. A stick-back bucket by Anderson accounted for a 36-29 Patriot advantage at the halftime horn.
The margin swelled to 11 points at 48-37 following a step-back triple by Gaither with 14:11 left. USCA responded with a 12-3 spurt to trim the deficit to 51-49 at the 11:37 mark.
A steal and driving layup by Gaither kept FMU in front at 59-56 with 6:28 remaining. The Pacers scored 10 of the game’s next 12 points to take the lead for good at 66-61.
Four consecutive missed free throws in the final nine seconds allowed Francis Marion a chance to win or tie the game. However, a 30-footer by Anderson was off the mark in the final second and USCA added a pair of free throws to seal the win.
Francis Marion connected on 40 percent of its field goal attempts, including nine three-pointers, and made 9-of-13 free throws. USCA shot 41.8 percent from the floor, but made only 9-of-21 free throw attempts. The Pacers were held to 5-of-26 shooting from behind the arc.
Courtesy – Francis Marion Athletics