On Wednesday, Jan. 28, the Patriots found themselves on the hardwood against a Peach Belt Conference (PBC) opponent, the Lander Bearcats. The Patriots had a ton of fans in attendance because it was high school appreciation night. The appreciation night was part of the ongoing process of recruiting local high school students to join the Patriot family.
The game was fast paced and from the start the Patriots looked promising keeping up the pace and getting up shots quickly. However the patriots did not get many shots to fall their way as they put up atrocious numbers from the floor. The Francis Marion University (FMU) Patriots shot a horrific 27.6% from the floor, which is the worst recorded field goal percentage in four seasons. The ball was going up often, but the rim seemed as if it was too small for the ball. The poor shooting, lack of second chance points and turnovers all contributed to the 10th conference loss of the season for the FMU Patriots.
“Tonight was disappointing,” Gary Edwards, head coach, said, “We did not shoot the ball well, and then we just started feeling sorry for ourselves.”
The Patriots lost the contest to the Bearcats 67-49. The loss was one of few this season that did not come down to the wire. The perfect free throw shooting from Lander in the final minutes of the game put the nail in the coffin for the down and out Patriots. Lander improved to 15-4 overall for the season while FMU fell to 9-11. With only one-third of the season remaining, the Patriots look to rack up some wins and catch a little momentum during the final stretch in order to to march into the PBC tournament.
It was not all negative for the Patriots though. Junior center Dii’jon Allen-Jordan recorded his sixth double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Detrek Browning and A.J. Jackson followed him with 10 points each. The Patriots were without their standout freshmen Judah Alexander who was sidelined by a concussion he sustained earlier in the season.
“There are certain lessons in the universe that are always true, and I think they need to hear it,” Edwards said. “I will keep telling them to come back from adversity and keep fighting.”
The Patriots look to continue to learn from their coach and keep fighting. They will take to the court again on Saturday, Jan. 31, at George College and will be back at home for their sea of red game on Feb. 11 against divisional opponent Armstrong State.