The Francis Marion University men's basketball team will face 16th-ranked Augusta University on Saturday (March 16) at 2:30 p.m. in the second quarterfinal game of the 2019 NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Southeast Regional Tournament.
The eight-team regional is being played on the campus of Queens University of Charlotte in the Royals' 2,200-seat Levine Center. Tickets for each session (2 games) are $10 for adults, $5 for students (with ID), $5 for youth 17-and-under and seniors 62-and-over, and children under three are free. Live video and stats for the game can be found at www.fmupatriots.com
Francis Marion (21-8) is the seventh seed, while Augusta (26-5) is the second-seed after winning last week's Peach Belt Conference Tournament title. The Jaguars swept the season series, winning by five points both times, 81-76 in Florence and 75-70 in Augusta.
Saturday's other quarterfinal games will have third-seeded and 17th-ranked USC Aiken (26-5) playing sixth-seeded Lenoir-Rhyne University (21-10) at noon, top-seeded and fifth-ranked Queens (28-4) playing eighth-seeded Emmanuel (Ga.) University (25-9) at 5:30 p.m., and fourth-seeded Catawba College (24-7) playing fifth-seeded UNC Pembroke (21-9) at 8 p.m.
The regional semifinals will be played on Sunday at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and the regional title game is set for Tuesday (March 19) evening at 7 p.m. The FMU/Augusta winner plays the USCA/LRU winner in the first semifinal contest.
Eight regionals of eight teams comprise the 64-team national field. The regional champions head to the 11,000-seat Ford Center in Evansville, Ind., for the 2019 NCAA Division II Men's Elite Eight. Play tips off in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, March 27, with the semifinals on March 28, and the championship game on Saturday, March 30.
Francis Marion placed third during the Peach Belt Conference regular season with a program-record 16 conference wins. The Patriots lost in the semifinals of the PBC Tournament last weekend. Five of the team's eight losses were to squads in the regional field, and FMU owns three victories over teams in the field.
Senior Brandon Parker, the Co-Player of the Year in the PBC, leads FMU in scoring (19.0 ppg) and rebounding (6.7 rpg), while each of the other four Patriot starters are also averaging in double figures: senior All-Conference guard Ryan Davis (15.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg), freshman forward Kailex Stephens (13.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg), junior guard Jaquez Smith (11.2 ppg, 3.7 apg), and senior forward Je'Quan Perry (11.1 ppg).
The Patriots are ranked 12th nationally in scoring offense (87.6 ppg) and sixth in three-pointers made per game (11.6).
Senior 6-8 forward Deane Williams, who shared PBC Player of the Year honors with Parker, leads Augusta at 15.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per contest. The Jaguars lead the PBC in scoring defense, allowing only 72 ppg.
FMU's Stephens and Augusta's Miguel Arnold (11.9 ppg) shared the Peach Belt's Freshman of the Year award.
This will be FMU's third appearance in the NCAA Tournament and second straight. The
Patriots were 20-10 last year and lost to UNCP on a buzzer-beater in the opening round. FMU registered a 27-4 mark en route to an appearance in the round of Sweet 16 in 2004. That squad was eliminated by Kennesaw State University, which went on win the Division II national title.
2019 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional schedule
Queens University of Charlotte (The Levine Center cap. 2,200)
Saturday, March 16
Game 1 - No. 6 Lenoir-Rhyne vs. No. 3 USC Aiken (Noon)
Game 2 - No. 7 Francis Marion vs. No. 2 Augusta (2:30 pm)
Game 3 - No. 8 Emmanuel vs. No. 1 Queens (5:30 pm)
Game 4 - No. 5 UNC Pembroke vs. No. 4 Catawba (8:00 pm)
Sunday, March 17
Game 5 - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 (5:00 pm)
Game 6 - Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 (7:30 pm)
Tuesday, March 19
Southeast Regional Championship - Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6 (7:00 pm)