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Francis Marion escapes with win

Jerome Smith scored 22 points and Kenneth Tabb had 18 points as the Francis Marion beat St. Jude 62-60.

Both teams shot over 50 percent in a fast-paced first half, but the Rams forced eight turnovers on their way to a 46-42 halftime lead.

With 6:35 left in the game, Kenneth Billingsley hit one of two free throws to extend the Rams’ lead to 49-43. St. Jude’s George Price fed Jeremy Edwards for the easy bucket and Smith answered with his own lay-in to make it 51-45.

“We play hard on every play like it’s our last,” said Marion head coach Lee Hollis. “We never give up. We just got to finish better”,

St Jude’s Charles Night completed a 3-point play to bring his team within nine points at 57-48. Joseph Jones picked off inbound pass and hit a layup to cut the lead to 57-50. The Rams couldn’t convert on the other end, and Jones hit a 12-footer to trim the lead to five at 57-52.

On St. Jude’s next possession, Joe Williams threw an alley-oop inbound pass to Derrick Cook for a dunk to make it 57-54, but that’s as close as the Pirates would get as the Rams clinched the game at the free throw line.