First half dooms CSU Cougars at Francis Marion

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FLORENCE, S.C. – Francis Marion outscored the Columbus State University men’s basketball team 52-27 in the first half en route to a 99-84 victory over the Cougars Monday. The Peach Belt Conference game took place inside Smith University Center in Florence, S.C.

The Patriots (6-10, 2-6 PBC) shot 66.7 percent (22-for-33) in the first half as they built up a 25-point advantage over the first 20 minutes. Overall in the game, FMU shot 59.1 percent (39-for-66) and 42.9 percent (9-for-21) from three.

“Obviously, this was a tough game,” stated CSU head coach Robert Moore. “We have to play better defense than that and play with more intensity out of the gates. Wednesday is going to be an important game at home for us against Georgia College.”

Columbus State (11-4, 4-4) didn’t have a bad start to the game holding a 14-13 advantage over the Patriots following a Ryan Burnett three-point play after getting fouled. FMU stretched the lead to 21-15 midway through the half, but the Cougars quickly made it a two-point game after a pair of free throws by Marcus Dixon and a jumper from Burnett.

From there, Francis Marion owned the half outscoring the Cougars 33-6 over the final nine-plus minutes of the first. The Patriots had runs of 14-2 and 13-0 during the stretch as CSU made only two field goals.

Coming out of the break, FMU extended the lead to 63-27 after scoring the first nine points of the half. Arben Camaj broke the run with a three-pointer at the 17:22 mark for the Cougars.

The lead would hover around the 30-point mark until the Cougars had their best stretch of the day. CSU went on an 11-3 run to cut the score to 80-56. JaCori Payne, Darius Joell and John Lambert each had three-pointers during the spurt.

CSU closed out the scoring with back-to-back threes from Lambert and Ellis.

Lambert scored a career high 19 points going 5-for-6 from three and 5-for-8 overall. Payne and Burnett had 17 and 12, respectively. Ten different CSU players scored in the game.

As a team, Columbus State shot 42.2 percent (27-for-64) and 46.4 percent from three.

CSU will return to the court on Wednesday hosting Georgia College at 7:30 p.m. inside the Lumpkin Center.COURTESY CSU SPORTS INFORMATION

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