FMU men’s basketball team marches over Saints during Homecoming game



Junior physical therapy major Zamarius McLendon takes a fadeaway shot during the Homecoming game on Saturday, Feb. 18.

Armand Broady, Sports Editor

The Francis Marion University men’s basketball team sent fans home happy on Saturday, Feb. 18, as they defeated the Flagler College Saints, 103-68, in a Homecoming blowout.

Five Patriots scored in double figures, led by senior forward Liki Turner, who had 25 points, shooting 9-of-13 from the field and 7-of-10 from the free throw line. Turner also led the team in rebounding with 10 points.

Senior guard Marcus Wright had 17 points, and forward Zamarius Mc-Clendon had 14 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals. But perhaps the biggest surprise of the game was the play of freshman guard Clayton Williams, who scored a career high 14 points in the 35-point victory.

Williams was very pleased with his individual effort.

“I was feeling good,” Williams said. “The game really slowed down for me.”

Williams also said that FMU played well because they were able to put the loss to UNCP behind them.

The first half was full of back-and-forth scoring, with both teams playing at a very quick pace. Flagler shot lights out from the three-point line, ripping the nets on seven of their 14 attempts.

Flagler guard Jarrod Branco played well off the bench, hitting two of his three attempts from three-point range in the first 20 minutes, while Flagler’s leading scorer Matt Clark (15.8 ppg, 43 percent from the three-point line) connected on three of his five three-point attempts. At halftime, FMU led 53-44, with the Pats shooting 16-of-35 from the field and Flagler shooting 14-of-29 from the field.

But the second half belonged to the Patriots’ defense, allowing just 24 Flagler points in the final 20 minutes. As a team, the Saints shot just 9-of-40 (22.5 percent) from the field in the second half. The Patriots also shut down Matt Clark, who scored just one point in the second half.

FMU head coach Gary Edwards said that defense was the focus for his team.

“Our defense and rebounding were better,” Edwards said. “We knew Matt Clark was a great shooter, and Darren Frazier, Evrik Gary and the guys did a good job on him.”

Williams echoed Edwards’ sentiments about the role defense played in the win.

“Our defensive hustle started in practice,” Williams said. “We had to find him (Clark) in transition. Our wing players did a great job.”

Both Edwards and Williams said that a major key to the Patriots’ victory was the energy and enthusiasm from the FMU fans.

Edwards said that the Homecoming crowd was “invaluable” and that his team really had a home court advantage because of their presence.

Williams said that the crowd was huge and that his team fed off it.

In defeat, Jarrod Branco led the Saints in scoring with 16 points. Clark followed with 13 and Addison Smith scored 11.

For the game, the Patriots held a 52-37 rebounding advantage. FMU shot 32-of-43 at the foul line, while the Saints were 13-of-23. FMU protected the ball, turning it over only eight times, well below their season average of 17.2 turnovers per game.

The Homecoming victory was an historic day for FMU’s Liki Turner. With his 25 points,  the Richmond, Va., native surpassed the 1,700-point mark for his career.

set to begin on Thursday, March 1.