FLORENCE, SC – Seniors Detrek Browning and Judah Alexander combined for 47 points to lead Francis Marion University to a 90-83 upset of 21st-ranked and conference-leading UNC Pembroke, Wednesday night (Jan. 24) in Peach Belt Conference men's basketball action.
Francis Marion improves to 11-6 overall and evens its conference mark at 6-6, while snapping the Braves' nine-game winning streak. UNCP dips to 14-4 and 10-2.
FMU will play at Georgia College on Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m., before returning home to entertain USC Aiken on Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m.
Browning paced the Patriots with 27 points on 11-of-17 shooting. The 6-0 Columbia native pushed his school-record career scoring total to 2,040, while his two three-point field goals established a new Patriot career mark of 251 bettering the old record held by Evrik Gary. Alexander tallied 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting and hauled down a game-high nine rebounds. Both players also registered four steals.
FMU forwards Warren Specht and Brandon Parker added 15 and 12 points respectively, with Parker also dishing out five assists.
Freshman guard Tyrell Kirk led UNCP with 20 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists, while senior forward Nigel Grant scored 18 points.
FMU scored the game's first six points and never trailed. The Patriots led by as many as 11 on two occasions before settling for a 50-41 advantage at halftime. The Patriots shot a sizzling 61.3 percent from the floor over the opening 20 minutes, while also forcing 11 Braves' turnovers.
A 7-2 spurt by UNC Pembroke to open the second stanza trimmed the margin to 52-48, but lay-ins by Browning and Specht pushed the lead back to eight points. Back-to-back three-pointers by Specht swelled the FMU lead to 75-62 with 7:32 remaining, but UNCP answered with a 9-0 run to pull within 75-71 with 5:07 on the clock.
After three FMU free throws, David Strother brought the Braves to within five points at 78-73, but a nearly two-minute scoreless drought by UNCP allowed FMU to open an 82-73 advantage. Five straight points by the Braves narrowed the deficit to four (82-78) with 1:33 left, but Browning canned a tough jumper from the left elbow as the shot clock was expiring to produce a six-point lead and seal the win. FMU then made 6-of-8 free throws over the final 30 seconds.
Francis Marion finished the game shooting 53.3 percent from the floor, including 8-of-20 from three-point territory, and was 18-of-25 at the foul line. UNCP shot an even 50-percent from the field, was 11-of-21 from behind the arc, and hit 14-of-19 charity tosses.
FMU did convert 18 UNCP miscues into 17 points, while the Patriots committed only 10 turnovers themselves.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) wrapped up its annual convention in Indianapolis this past week. Division II passed legislation welcoming colleges and universities from Mexico into the Association. It also passed legislation allowing football teams to practice three additional days, and moved the start date of women’s volleyball up a week.
The State of Michigan wrapped up its sentencing hearing of Larry Nassar, the former Michigan State and USA Gymnastics doctor convicted of sexually assaulting female athletes under his care, last week, too. In a somber courtroom in Lansing, 159 girls and young women recounted horrific stories of abuse perpetrated under the guise of medical treatment.
It is ridiculous, unconscionable really, to mention the NCAA in the same sentence with Larry Nassar. Indianapolis and Lansing are about 250 miles apart, but a universe separates the business of that convention and the business of that courtroom.
I had hoped the NCAA had learned its lesson with Penn State and the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
The severe penalties initially imposed upon the Nittany Lions had to be walked back, and most now agree the NCAA getting involved at all was at best an overreach of power, and at worst political grandstanding.
It should be obvious by now that the NCAA has no power beyond its obese rulebook. If it does not fit into a bylaw, well, then it just does not fit.
If the NCAA ultimately understood it had no jurisdiction in North Carolina’s bogus African-American Studies program, then it certainly should recognize it has no power over a member institution employing a criminal and failing to stop his crimes.
But, sure enough, the NCAA has decided to wade into the muddy waters. It has “sent a letter of inquiry to Michigan State regarding potential NCAA rules violations related to the assaults Larry Nassar perpetrated against girls and young women, including some student-athletes at Michigan State.”
I agree Michigan State needs to be held accountable for what its administration knew and when they knew it. But the NCAA is not the organization best equipped to lift that weight.
Stick to running championships, slapping the hands of cheating coaches, and figuring out the best time for volleyball to start practice. You embarrass yourself by trying to do more, and in this case, your involvement serves to trivialize the seriousness of the abuse and horror.
In time, Larry Nassar, and perhaps those who enabled him, will be judged. Just not by the NCAA.
With his name already etched in the Francis Marion University men's basketball record book many times, senior guard Detrek Browning went one step further on Wednesday evening (Jan. 17) when he scored a school-record 41 points during the Patriots' 106-104 double overtime road victory at Augusta University.
The Columbia native also decided the game's outcome when he drained three of four free throws with less than a second remaining to erased a one-point deficit. He missed the fourth free throw on purpose to help negate the chance for Augusta to get off a potential tying shot.
Trailing 104-103 with 5.4 seconds left in the second overtime, Browning drove down the lane and was fouled with 0:00.8 left on the clock. The Augusta bench was then assessed a technical foul and Browning hit three of four charity tosses.
For the game, Browning connected on 14-of-22 field goal attempts, including 4-of-9 three-point shots, and hit 9-of-11 free throws. He played 45 of the 50 minutes and registered four assists, two rebounds, and two steals, while committing only two turnovers.
He broke one of the longest-standing Patriot records, eclipsing the old scoring mark of 40 points set by Hank Foster in an 85-68 win over Coker College on Feb. 15, 1984. Already the FMU career scoring leader, Browning passed Young Harris College's C.J. Wilson to move into third place on the Peach Belt Conference's all-time scoring list with 1,986 points.
"It was amazing how he imposed his will out there," said FMU head coach Gary Edwards. "Detrek is not the most physically imposing player and he is not the quickest player, but he has the ability to take over a game. It was very evident who was in control last night. And don't forget the performance was in the final game of a three-game road trip that occurred in only five days!
"Detrek is an unbelievable shooter from the outside, but it is more impressive how he gets his shot off in traffic at only six feet tall. He is also great at drawing fouls, and when he goes to the line in a situation like Wednesday night, you know he will make them." Browning is 24-of-27 this season and 61-of-72 over the past two years in the final five minutes of a game.
When asked to rank Browning's performance, Edwards said," It ranks up there. In 34 years as a head coach, I have had some guys play big games on big stages and Wednesday night's show is right up there. While it may not have been a championship game, it could be a season changer for us this year." The win upped the Patriots' overall record to 10-5 and evened their PBC mark at 5-5.
Edwards added, "Many Augusta folks came up to me after the horn and said 'what a game.'
"Detrek means so much to us in so many ways (in addition to holding the Patriot career scoring record, he is second in assists, steals, three-pointers made, and minutes played). I wanted this to be a special season for him and am so happy that it has turned out this way."
Ironically 41 is also the number worn by Francis Marion great Carlton Farr, the player Browning surpassed as the program's career scoring leader. During Wednesday's contest, Browning (a product of Irmo High School) also broke FMU career records previously held by Farr for field goals made (700) and attempted (1418).
If the Patriots advance in the PBC tournament, Browning has a shot at the conference's all-time scoring mark of 2,333 points set by Augusta's Keshun Sherrill (2013-17).
Averaging 24.5 points per game this season, Browning has been tabbed as the Peach Belt Conference's Player of the Week three times this year.
Francis Marion will return to action on Saturday when the Patriots host Flagler College at 3:30 p.m.
The Francis Marion University men’s basketball team has seven home games, including today’s contest against Flagler College, left this season. Time is running out for you to see a very special player.
Detrek Browning, a 6’0” senior guard from Columbia, South Carolina, is the Patriots’ all-time leading scorer with 1,986 points. A product of Irmo High School and legendary coach Tim Whipple, Browning leads the Patriots and the Peach Belt Conference in scoring this season with 25 points a game.
He is shooting .510 from the field, and .420 from the three-point line. Those numbers are unheard of for a guard. The rest of the Patriots are collectively shooting .437 from the field and .310 from behind the arc.
Despite being called on to score, Detrek is extremely unselfish with the basketball. He dishes out three assists a game and also chips in over four rebounds. He accounts for over 36% of the offense for the 10-5 Patriots.
This week, by scoring 41 points in a thrilling 106-104 double overtime victory over the Augusta Jaguars, he broke one of the longest-standing Patriot scoring records. The old record of 40 points was set by Hank Foster against Coker College way back on February 15, 1984.
In addition to having the highest scoring average in the Peach Belt Conference, he also has the highest grade point average on our team. He will graduate with honors this May with a degree in Psychology.
So if you can come to the Smith University Center on our campus at 3:30 p.m. today, you will see a guy who doesn’t look physically imposing. He is not the quickest guard out there, and certainly not the strongest.
But you will see an old-school basketball player who knows how to play and can shoot the lights out. In this age of style over substance, Detrek is substance. He is the rare player who can impose his will over any opponent.
And this old coach is going to miss him terribly when our season ends, and his college career comes to a close.
I hope you won’t miss the opportunity to watch Detrek while you can. Seven more games, seven chances to watch a little magic.
The Francis Marion University basketball teams are in Americus, Georgia, today as they take on the Hurricanes of Georgia Southwestern University in Peach Belt Conference action.
After I wrote an unflattering column about Americus a few years ago many of its citizens didn’t care much for the ol’ ball coach from Francis Marion. In recent years I have worked very hard, and have been very successful, at repairing my reputation in this “Shining City on a Hill.”
So much so that I have decided to run for mayor of Americus.
Your first thought may be to ask how a guy can coach a basketball team in Florence, South Carolina, and also serve as mayor of a small city in Georgia. The answer is fairly simple: I am a genius.
And I’m not just your average, everyday, run-of-the-mill genius. I am a very stable genius, who made very good grades at a, well, very stable and prestigious school.
Americus has had a lot of problems with people from neighboring Lee County migrating into the city. We are going to build a wall right beside Miss Lu Lu’s Massage Parlor running parallel with Main Street down to Church’s Fried Chicken.
Also, the mayor of Macon has been threatening to steal some of our industry. May I remind Boorish Bobby that my economic development button is larger and much more powerful than his.
The Hotel Windsor stands in the center of Americus and is a registered historic landmark. I think it would be appropriate if we renamed it the Hotel Edwards.
My track record speaks for itself. In addition to leading the Patriots to the National Championship last year, I have been instrumental in the revitalization of downtown Florence, and I am the head sous chef at Victor’s on the weekends.
Just this morning there has been a rumor circulating through town that I have been colluding with South Carolina to dig up dirt on current Americus mayor, Barry Blount. Believe me; I don’t need the Palmetto State’s help to beat Bumbling Barry. There is no collusion!
I invited the good people of Americus to our basketball practice last night at Georgia Southwestern. We couldn’t fit them all into the arena, there had to be at least 50,000 people there.
I’ll be funding most of my campaign, but small donations will be appreciated. Together, let’s make Americus great again!