Patriots drain Lakers in conference play

Patriots+drain+Lakers+in+conference+play

Photo by: Ciera Hunt

After this game Jones, 21 was named Student Athlete of the Week.

Lillian Miller, Sports Writer

The Francis Marion Men’s Basketball team beat the Clayton State Lakers on Monday, January 20, in overtime with the final score of 71-68.

The Patriots bounced back from their loss at Montevallo with a win against Clayton State. It was a battle from the first seconds to the final shot. The Lakers were not leaving Florence peacefully.

At the start of the game, FMU got off to bad start with a foul within the first couple of seconds. Trevonte Dixon, junior starting forward for FMU, would foul William Asplund of Clayton State within the first 30 seconds. After Ashland made one of the two foul shots, it started the game with a score of 1-0 Clayton State.

 In the first half, the Patriots did take the lead, but the gap would not hold for long. 

At the half, the Patriots led 34-26.

At the start of the second half, Craig Wong, starting guard for Clayton State, made a jump shot and adding 2 points to the Lakers score. And the battle resumed.

Nearing the end of the second half, with 2:30 left on the clock, Clayton State has the lead 58-55.  After many missed three pointers by players on both teams, and with the clock slowly running out of time, Evrik Gary made a 3 point jump shot to tie the game with 1 minute left.

With the final seconds spent trying to break the tie, eventually the clock runs out and sends both teams into overtime.

After a long and arduous fight during the 5 additional minutes added to game time, the Patriots outscored the Lakers. The final score reading 71-68 in the Patriots favor.

Components that aided in Clayton State’s fight for the win relied on the help of Wong, Kelsey Terry, guard, and Omari Murray, starting forward.

Wong led in overall points. He added 18 points to the Lakers final score. Terry and Murray tied for rebounds, 8, and Murray led the team in assists with 6.

The Patriots, however, were not to be over taken. With the help of Gary, senior guard, who put up 15 points, followed closely by junior forward Dustin Jones who added another 14 points, the Patriots kept the scoring lead. Luka Zivkovic and Clark Major both contributed with 8 rebounds.

With the addition of the 15 points to Gary overall record, he moves into sixth place in the FMU All-time scoring list. He is a mere 8 points from moving into fifth place.

“It feels good to know I’m in the same category with some elite scorers,” Gary said. “Something I can look back on and be proud of.”

With 11 games left in the season Gary is on his way to breaking the all-time record.

With this potential good news, the Patriots have asked for more support from a local high school to cheer on its players. The Darlington High school band joined the cheerleaders in cheering on the players.

The band was led by director Chris Simpson, who has been the band director for 3 years.

“We wanted to do more for our community and support our local college,” Simpson said.

There was also a representative from the band’s booster club. Sharon Jackson, Booster President, travels with the band to a lot of different venues.

“We were asked by Assistant Coach Jake Deer to come play,” said Jackson. “We were invited to get the crowds going and show [FMU] what it’s like to have a pep band.”

The Patriots will play its next home game against USC Aiken on the 25th.