FMU drops overtime decision in NCAA Tournament
CHARLOTTE–A 10-0 run in the final minutes of overtime allowed second-seeded and 16th-ranked Augusta University to escape with a 77-70 victory over seventh-seeded Francis Marion University, Saturday afternoon (March 16) in the quarterfinal round of the 2019 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Francis Marion ends its season at 21-9, and for the second year in a row in heartbreaking fashion. Last season, the Patriots lost on a 30-foot buzzer beater to UNC Pembroke in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
Augusta improves to 27-5 and advances to face third-seeded USC Aiken an 84-71 winner over Lenoir-Rhyne University in Saturday’s opening quarterfinal contest. The Jaguars took all three meetings from FMU this season: by five points in Florence, five points in Augusta, and seven points on Saturday.
Freshman 6-7 center Winton Hill came off the bench to lead FMU with 22 points on 6-of-10 shooting. In the last two meetings with Augusta, Hill has scored 49 points.
Patriot senior guard Ryan Davis followed Hill with 20 points (on 9-of-16 shooting) and eight rebounds, while freshman forward Kailex Stephens added 10 points and five rebounds. Senior forward and PBC Co-Player of the Year Brandon Parker chipped in eight points, including the game-tying three-pointer at the end of regulation, and senior forward Je’Quan Perry scored seven and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.
All five Augusta starters scored in double figures, led by 6-8 senior Deane Williams with 15 points and 14 rebounds and junior forward Rafael Monteiro with 15 points.
Having erased a 14-point first-half deficit, FMU led on three occasions in the second half. However, the Patriots trailed by five, 64-59 with a minute remaining. Parker came up with a steal and scored on a lay-up to trim the margin to three. On the ensuing possession, Parker came up with another theft and then hit the game-tying three-pointer with 25 ticks remaining.
With Augusta holding for the last shot, Hill drew a charge with 4.4 seconds left. Following a timeout, FMU junior point guard Jaquez Smith drove the ball up the floor and handed off to Parker, whose turn-around three-pointer from 29 feet rimmed out.
In the extra session, Francis Marion took a 67-65 lead on a three-pointer by Perry from the right corner. After the Jaguars knotted the score, Hill hit 1-of-2 free throws to put the Patriots on top 68-67 with 1:57 on the clock. The Jaguars then reeled off 10 straight points to lead 77-68 as the Patriots missed two free throws and a trio of three-pointers. A late lay-in by Davis accounted for the final tally.
FMU started the game with a cold-shooting hand, missing 15 of their first 21 attempts. The Patriots did manage an early 8-7 advantage, but Augusta scored 14 consecutive points to assume a 21-8 lead. The margin grew to 14 on two occasions (23-9 and 27-13). However, Francis Marion hit four of its final five shots and closed the stanza on a 10-2 spurt to trim the deficit to a manageable 31-27 at halftime.
The Jaguars pushed the margin to 34-29, but a thunderous dunk and a three-pointer all from Stephens quickly knotted the score.
An inside hoop by Davis put FMU up 38-36, and the Patriots led 42-21 after a pair of free throws by Davis with 11:12 left in regulation. The score was tied at 47-47 before Augusta would take a 58-52 advantage with 4:12 remaining.
Francis Marion shot 41.0 percent from the floor, including 7-of-22 from behind the arc, and was 13-of-19 at the free throw stripe. The Jaguars hit 46.4 percent of their shots, including 10-of-27 from lond range, and were 15-of-16 at the foul line.
FMU outrebounded the Jaguars 38-30 and held a 15-2 edge in second-chance points.