The Columbus State men's basketball team was on a record-setting pace at halftime. The Cougars cooled off in the second half but still managed to down Francis Marion 101-89 in the first round of the Peach Belt Conference tournament at the Lumpkin Center.
The Cougars (21-6) scored 64 points in the first 20 minutes. They needed just 42 in the second half to break their own PBC tournament record of 105 points in a game.
CSU also dished out 20 assists in the first half, just eight off their season-high. The Cougars finished with 23.
The Cougars shot 65 percent (26-of-40) from the floor in the first half, including 59 percent (10-of-17) from 3-point range.
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"With 20 assists in the first half, we were sharing the ball and guys got wide open shots," CSU coach Robert Moore said.
"That is how you want to play. It is what I have liked about this team from the beginning. They make the extra pass. They look out for their teammates. Even the guys who are coming off the bench and not playing as many minutes will really get their teammates involved."
CSU shot just 43 percent (12-of-28) in the second half, which allowed Francis Marion to climb back into the game. The Patriots closed to within seven,
92-85, with 2:35 left.
But Brent Jackson hit a 3-pointer and CSU made 6-of-8 free throws down the stretch to hold on.
"Francis Marion kept us off balance all night," Moore said. "They have three guards who can really score. I was just happy we could survive and advance. This time of year, it is going to be tough no matter who you play."
DeMarcus McVay led CSU with a double-double of 22 points and 12 rebounds. Cam Baker had 19 points. Jackson finished with 15, 11 of which came in the final 9 minutes.
JaCori Payne had 14 and Arben Camaj added 12. Ten of Camaj"s came in the first eight minutes of the game.
With the win, CSU, which won the PBC regular-season championship, advances to the PBC semifinals to face Augusta, an 84-78 winner over Young Harris on Sunday.
The semifinals and finals will be played on Saturday at the Lumpkin Center. The CSU women won their game Sunday, which earned them the right to host both the men's as well as the women's tournament.
"My good friend (women's coach Jonathan Norton) took care of it," Moore said. "Now we get to play everything right here. It is good for the guys as their families can come out and watch. We get to sleep in our beds, keep our routine. Thanks to him, we get to do that."
FRANCIS MARION UNIVERSITY (17-12)
Alante Fenner 9-16 5-7 25; Mike Davis Jr. 7-20 4-4 23; Detrek Browning 7-18 0-0 18; A.J. Jackson 6-11 1-1 15; Judah Alexander 1-2 2-2 4; Nick Talko 1-1 0-0 2; David Jerome 1-3 0-0 2; Kenneth Jackson 0-1 0-0 0; Samson Nnaji 0-2 0-0 0; Alex Bryant 0-0 0-0 0; Mykel Harris 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 32-75 12-14 89.
COLUMBUS STATE (21-6)
DeMarcus McVay 10-14 2-2 22; Cam Baker 8-16 0-1 19; Brent Jackson 5-10 3-4 15; JaCori Payne 3-5 6-8 14; Arben Camaj 5-7 0-0 12; Brentine Taylor 4-8 1-3 9; Demetres Abrams 1-5 1-2 4; Darren Daniel 1-1 0-2 3; Matthias Sigurdarson 1-2 0-0 3; Marcus Dixon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 38-68 13-22 101.
Halftime--Columbus State 64-51. 3-point goals--Francis Marion University 13-33 (Mike Davis Jr. 5-14; Detrek Browning 4-8; A.J. Jackson 2-5; Alante Fenner 2-5; Mykel Harris 0-1), Columbus State 12-24 (Cam Baker 3-6; JaCori Payne 2-3; Arben Camaj 2-2; Brent Jackson 2-5; Darren Daniel 1-1; Demetres Abrams 1-5; Matthias Sigurdarson 1-2). Fouled out--Francis Marion University-None, Columbus State-None. Rebounds--Francis Marion University 38 (Detrek Browning 8; David Jerome 8), Columbus State 44 (DeMarcus McVay 12). Assists--Francis Marion University 15 (Detrek Browning 7), Columbus State 23 (Brent Jackson 6). Total fouls--Francis Marion University 19, Columbus State 13. Technical fouls--Francis Marion University-None, Columbus State-None. A-711