Florence, SC – The Francis Marion Patriots (7-9) are a high scoring team that averages over 91 points per game, and makes over 13 three point field goals per game. They were better than advertised on both accounts Wednesday night as they hosted the JWU Wildcats (5-20).
The Patriots could not have been hotter at the start of the game. They made their first 5, and 8 of their first 10 shots from the field. Six of those eight baskets were 3 pointers. Tyler Diehl made 3 of those long range bombs, and finished the half a perfect 4-4 from the 3 point line, and 2-2 from the free throw stripe for 14 points. JWU did well to find themselves only down by 10 points at 22-12 in the first five minutes. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the hot Patriot shooting would continue for the remainder of the half. FMU shot 60% for the period, including 11 made 3 point shots. Their 62 first half points were the most allowed by JWU this season. The Wildcats shot the ball well themselves, scoring 31 points on 44% shooting, but simply couldn't keep up with the fast-paced Patriots.
The pace slowed somewhat for both teams in the second half. The Wildcats hung tough in the second half, playing much better defense as FMU scored 30 less points in the second half as they did the first. The Patriots still shot 50.7% from the field for the game and cruised to a 96-53 win. They made 15 three pointers, 2 better than their season average. Garth Baily led the Wildcat effort in the second half as he scored all 8 of his points in the stanza.
FMU put all 5 starters in double figures led by Diehl's 17 and Evrik Gary's 16 points. JWU had 2 players in double figures, Taylor Thomas and Mario Irby, who each had 10 points. Irby also grabbed 11 rebounds to record his second double-double of the season.
The Wildcats are back in action at home on Friday, February 1st, as they host the Bruins of Bob Jones University. Tip time is 7:30pm.