The Francis Marion University men's basketball team will welcome Young Harris College to the Smith University Center for a Peach Belt Conference Tournament Quarterfinal matchup on Wednesday night (March 6) at 7 p.m.
Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for students, and all Peach Belt Conference students will be admitted free with identification. The contest will also be streamed live online courtesy of the Patriot Sports Network.
Francis Marion enters the tournament as the third seed, having gone 20-7 overall and 16-6 in Peach Belt play during the regular season. The Patriots have now posted back-to-back 20-win campaigns for the first time since the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons, while their 16 conference wins established a new program record.
The Mountain Lions are the sixth seed following a 13-15 regular season record, which included an 11-11 mark in the PBC. The two squads split the two previous meetings this season, with each team grabbing a win on the opponent's home floor.
Wednesday's three other quarterfinal games include top-seeded Augusta University (23-5) hosting eighth-seeded Columbus State University (13-15) at 7 p.m., second-seeded USC Aiken (24-4) hosting seventh-seeded Lander University (12-16) at 7:30 p.m., and fourth-seeded UNC Pembroke (20-8) hosting fifth-seeded Georgia College (16-11) at 7:30 p.m.
The semifinals and finals will be played at the site of the highest seeded men's team remaining after the quarterfinal round. The semifinals will be Saturday (March 9) and the championship game on Sunday (March 10).
The FMU/Young Harris winner will meet the USC Aiken/Lander winner in the semifinals on Saturday.
Wednesday's contest will feature two of the top offenses in the Peach Belt and NCAA Division II men's basketball, with Young Harris leading the PBC and ranking third in the country at 93.2 points per game. Francis Marion ranks third in the conference and 14th nationally at 87.4 ppg. Each team also claimed one of the Peach Belt's top-4 scorers from the regular season in Patriot senior Brandon Parker (18.8 ppg, 3rd) and Mountain Lion junior guard Justin Jones (18.7 ppg, 4th).
Alongside Parker, each of FMU's other four starters are also averaging double-figures, including senior guard Ryan Davis (15.3 ppg), freshman forward Kailex Stephens (13.4 ppg), junior guard Jaquez Smith (11.5 ppg), and senior forward Je'Quan Perry (11.1 ppg). Parker and Perry are two of the top three-point marksmen and free throw shooters in the PBC with Parker connecting on 47.3 percent of his triples (sixth) and 83.1 percent at the foul line (fourth). Perry ranks ninth in three-point percentage (44.1 percent) and second in free throw percentage (84.4 percent).
Young Harris leads the all-time series 5-4, with Wednesday being the programs' first-ever meeting in postseason play. Prior to this season, all seven meetings had been won by the home team.
The Patriot men are hosting their second-ever Peach Belt Conference Tournament contest, having defeated the University of North Georgia 83-54 in last year's quarterfinals at the Smith University Center. FMU is seeking its second consecutive trip to the PBC semifinals.