DUE WEST, S.C. – Freshman forward Nick Silva scored a career-high 29 points to lead Francis Marion University to a 73-61 road victory over Erskine College on Thursday in Conference Carolinas men’s basketball action.
Now conference opponents, this would be the first visit for the Patriots (5-7, 3-7) to Erskine’s Belk Arena in 15 seasons, and their first win in Due West since a 59-53 triumph on Jan. 4, 1993.
FMU will return to the Smith University Center to face Belmont Abbey College on Saturday at 4 p.m. The women’s basketball team will also be in action as the Patriots will take on Southern Wesleyan University at 2 p.m.
Silva would make 9-of-14 shots from the field, including 4-of-6 from behind the arc, and hit 7-of-9 free throws. His point total was only five shy of the Patriot freshman single-game record. He also grabbed six rebounds, handed out four assists, and pilfered two steals.
FMU graduate student Neija Jordan ended with 10 points, five rebounds, and three steals, while junior guard Tionne Rollins would lead the team in rebounds with eight and assists with six.
Stephen Thomas led Erskine (1-12, 1-8) in points with 16 and reeled in six rebounds, while Tyrell Oglesby added 14 points.
The Flying Fleet would put up the first basket of the game, but would be answered quickly by a Jordan three-pointer. Erskine only had the lead three times after the first bucket the whole night, with the Patriots controlling the lead for the remainder of the contest. Silva would secure nine of his points in the first six minutes, hitting two of those shots from behind the arc.
Trailing 13-12 at the 13:59 mark, FMU would finish the half outscoring Erskine 29-10. They would enter the second half leading 41-23 and would shoot 6-of-11 from three-point range in the first half.
The Patriots kept their foot on the pedal for the majority of the second half extending their lead to 30 points with 9:54 remaining following a lay-in by Silva. The Flying Fleet would bring the score to within 20 a few times throughout the second half, and would eventually cut the deficit to 12 with 36 seconds remaining.
The 61 points are the fewest the Patriots have allowed all season.
FMU ended the contest shooting 27-of-48 (44.8%) from the field, while Erskine shot 22-of-65 (33.8%) percent. The Patriots shot 50 percent from behind the arc hitting 9-of-18 and the Flying Fleet would shoot 5-of-22.