Curtis Christian tosses in 10 points in first start of the season; Tyler Iacoune nets career-best 7 points
ORANGEBURG, N.Y. (January 2, 2013) -- The No. 10 nationally ranked Franklin Pierce University men's basketball tipped off its second half of the season on Wednesday with a 66-60 win over Queens (N.Y.) in the first round of the James Clancy Memorial Tournament at the Hennessy Center in Orangeburg, N.Y. The Ravens, who will take on Dominican on the tournament's final day on Thursday, improved to 8-1. Queens dipped to 1-8 as the Knights fell just short in their upset bid.
Sophomore forward Ryen Vilmont (Philadelphia, Pa.) pumped in a team-high 16 points for the Ravens, who were playing their first game since Dec. 8. He also added six rebounds and three steals. Junior guard Curtis Christian (Harlem, N.Y.) followed with 10 points as he made his first start of the season.
Junior guard Andre Blackwood (Paterson, N.J.) and freshman frontcourt mate Tyler Iacoune (Mahopac, N.Y.) came off the bench to pump in nine and seven points, respectively. Junior forwards Ellis Cooper (Northampton, Mass.) and Adrianos Vourliotakis Perdikaris (Cholargos, Athens) each added six points, while Cooper ripped down a team-high nine boards and Vourliotakis collected seven. Sophomore guard Paul Dick (Belfast, Ireland) also chipped in with six points for the Ravens.
George Holmes netted a game-high 23 points for Queens, as two other Knights also scored in double-figures, including Daniel Watson and Abe Akanmu with 13 and 10 points, respectively.
The Knights gave Franklin Pierce all it could handle in the game as the Ravens could not pull away for a comfortable lead at any point. In fact, a Watson layup three and a half minutes into the second half staked Queens to a 36-35 lead.
The Ravens settled and reeled off the next six points to open up a 41-36 lead. Vourliotakis and Cooper laid in back-to-back baskets while Vilmont, who was 9-of-10 from the free throw line in the game, converted a pair of foul shots.
The teams exchanged baskets over the next few possessions before Franklin Pierce went on a 14-4 run to take a double-digit lead at 55-44 with 7:54 to go. Blackwood bombed in a triple during the surge, while Christian capped it with five-consecutive points including a trey and a 15-foot jumper.
Watson, though, sparked a surge for Queens as he scored four of his team's next seven points to pull the Knights within four at 55-51 with 5:30 left. The Knights kept the margin around four points for the next several minutes, but couldn't make one final run to take the lead.
Franklin Pierce was able to knock down its foul shots in the closing seconds, including getting four from Vilmont, to seal the win.
The Ravens shot a strong 46 percent (24-of-52) from the field. Queens shot 40 percent from the field and held a slim 33-32 advantage on the boards. The Knights could not overcome 23 turnovers as the Ravens were able to convert some of those into transition layups.
The Knights came out firing in the opening minutes of the game and scored eight of the first 10 points. Dick got things settled for the Ravens as he dropped in consecutive baskets to key an 8-0 run as Franklin Pierce knotted the score at 15-15 midway through the first half.
Junior forward Matt Barboza (East Providence, R.I.), who capped the previous surge with a jumper, knocked down another one later in the frame to give Franklin Pierce its first lead of the game at 23-22 with 4:47 left. Christian laid in a basket in the waning seconds of the half to send the Ravens into the locker room with a 30-29 halftime lead.
Franklin Pierce's Thursday contest with Dominican will be the final game of the Clancy Memorial and will tip off at 7:30 p.m. The Ravens return to Rindge on Sunday when they play host to Saint Michael's at 3:30 p.m. in The Fieldhouse.
For more information on Franklin Pierce men's basketball, please visit the team's page at athletics.franklinpierce.edu(.) To follow the program even further, please visit Franklin Pierce Athletics on YouTube (www.youtube.com/FranklinPierceSports), Twitter (www.twitter.com/FPUathletics) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce men's basketball apparel can do so on the athletic department's online store at athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store(.)