When guard Lorenzo Lawrence and forward Bryan Taylor get hot, Armstrong Atlantic State coach Jeff Burkhamer knows his team is tough to beat.
"They're a good inside-outside combo," Burkhamer said. "When they get it going, we are usually going good."
Lawrence and Taylor combined for 45 points as the South's fifth-seeded Pirates cruised to a 66-39 win Wednesday over North No. 4 seed Francis Marion in the first round of the Peach Belt Conference Tournament at Christenberry Fieldhouse.
Armstrong Atlantic State (15-13) set a school record for fewest points allowed. The Pirates held Francis Marion (10-17) to 30 percent shooting from the field with just six second-half field goals.
Lawrence and Taylor outscored the Patriots, 16-15, after intermission. Taylor knocked down his first eight shots before ending with an 11-for-13 shooting performance to tie a career-high with 24 points. Lawrence added 21 points on 8 of 15 shooting.
"Coach puts us in a good situation, and we play off each other," Lawrence said. "Our two-game is tough to defend."
These two teams met in last year's quarterfinals, and the fourth-seeded Pirates upset the North Division's top team, 72-69. This time, the contest wasn't close.
Armstrong Atlantic State jumped out to a 35-24 halftime lead. The Pirates then held Francis Marion to two field goals the first 12 minutes after halftime as they pushed the margin to 22.
Armstrong Atlantic State will now face defending Division II champion Kennesaw State at 3 p.m. in Friday's quarterfinals.
COLUMBUS STATE 92, UNC PEMBROKE 62
Peach Belt leading scorer Yandel Brown managed just 22 points, but it was more than enough in Columbus State's win over UNC Pembroke.
Brown, who entered the tournament as the second leading scorer in Division II with a 28.3 average, shot 8-for-16 from the field with four 3-pointers. Brown scored 18 in the first half and played just 23 minutes.
"We were going to put him back in," Columbus State coach Herbert Greene said, "but then we went up 32 and I decided not to for two reasons: I didn't want to make the other coach mad, and if I had put him back in and he got hurt, I didn't want to make me mad."
Corris Porter came off the bench to add 18 points as the Cougars shot 48 percent from the field. South No. 3 seed Columbus State (19-8) advances to play North No. 2 seed Lander at 1 p.m. Friday in the quarterfinals.
For North No. 6 seed UNC Pembroke, another painful season comes to a close. The Braves (3-25), who averaged 18 points less than their opponents during the regular season committed 27 turnovers.
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