#14 Men's Basketball Can't Hold Late Lead in 68-65 Loss to Southern Connecticut State

#14 Men's Basketball Can't Hold Late Lead in 68-65 Loss to Southern Connecticut State

Adrianos Vourliotakis Perdikaris also tosses in 19 points for the Ravens

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (January 9, 2013) -- The No. 14 nationally ranked Franklin Pierce University men's basketball team could not hold a late lead and fell, 68-65, to Southern Connecticut State on Wednesday night at Moore Field House in New Haven, Conn. The Ravens fell to 9-3 overall and 6-2 in the Northeast-10, while the Owls improved to 8-4 and 5-3 in league play.

Franklin Pierce held a 59-48 lead with 10:34 remaining after forward Ant Lessane (Brooklyn, N.Y.) knocked down a 15-foot jumper. It was Lessane's only basket of the game, but it seemed to put the Ravens firmly in control to pick up their second-straight win.

Southern Connecticut, though, didn't fold and Rashamell Vereen threw down a dunk at the other end of the court to ignite the Owls comeback. Vereen followed with a layup, Trevon Hamlet tallied five-straight points and Tylon Smith converted a pair of free throws during a three-minute span to pull Southern Connecticut to within two at 61-59.

With Franklin Pierce's big lead gone, it would go back and forth the remainder of the game, including three lead changes in the final 3:20.

The Owls finally wrestled the lead away from the Ravens at the 3:20 mark as Vereen knocked down a three-pointer to make it 64-63.

Junior forward Ellis Cooper (Northampton, Mass.), who tossed in a team-high tying 19 points, laid in a basket at the other end of the court to give the advantage right back to the Ravens.

Vereern answered moments later for the Owls as he worked his way to the basket before drawing a foul and making both free throw attempts to put his team up one.

Those two free throws proved to be the difference as the Ravens could not convert on several attempts during their final two possessions of the game. Hamlet iced the win with a pair of foul shots with just :13.

Hamlet pumped in 19 points for the Owls, while Rashamell followed with 17. Smith was SoCo's other double-digit scorer with 11 points.

Junior forward Adrianos Vourliotakis Perdikaris (Cholargos, Athens) equaled Cooper's team high with 19 points of his own. Both Ravens logged five rebounds, while Cooper also dished out five assists, swiped three steals and blocked a shot.

Franklin Pierce came out of the gates flying and used eight points from sophomore forward Ryen Vilmont (Philadelphia, Pa.) to open up a 12-4 lead. But what proved to be a sign of things to come later on, Southern Connecticut answered with a surge and scored nine of the next 10 points to knot the score at 13-all. Vereen had four points to aid the run.

The lead changed hands several times the remainder of the first half before Smith pumped in a jumper to give the Owls a 36-34 lead at halftime.

The opening minutes of the second half remained close until the Ravens used a mini 5-0 run to open up their 11-point lead with 10:34 left.

The Ravens return to action Saturday when they play host to Le Moyne at 3:30 p.m. in The Fieldhouse in Rindge.

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 women's basketball apparel can do so on the athletic department's online store at athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store(.)