Men's Basketball Concludes Regular Season with 69-62 Setback to Merrimack

Men's Basketball Concludes Regular Season with 69-62 Setback to Merrimack

Eric Jean-Guillaume adds 15 points for the Ravens

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (February 26, 2013) -- The Franklin Pierce University men's basketball team capped its 2012-13 regular season on Tuesday with a tough 69-62 loss to Merrimack at Bert Hammel Court in North Andover, Mass. The Ravens concluded the regular season with a 19-7 overall record and a 16-6 mark in the Northeast-10, while the Warriors improved to 12-15 and 9-13 in league play.

By dropping the contest, Franklin Pierce fell to the fourth seed in the upcoming Northeast-10 Conference Championship and will host fifth-seeded Southern Connecticut State in the quarterfinals on Sunday at 3 p.m. in The Fieldhouse in Rindge. The Owls defeated the Ravens, 68-65, in the season's only meeting between the two schools back on Jan. 9 in New Haven, Conn.

A pair of Ravens scored in double-figures against Merrimack, led by junior forward Ellis Cooper (Northampton, Mass.) and his game high-tying 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field.  He narrowly missed a double-double by pulling down nine rebounds. Senior guard Eric Jean-Guillaume (Stamford, Conn.) followed with 15 points.

JT Strickland equaled Cooper with 20 points for Merrimack while Mike Clifford notched a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Clifford was one of three Warriors who logged double-figures in rebounding as Merrimack held a commanding 52-37 advantage on the boards. Tyler Young ripped down a game-high 16 rebounds, while Gelvis Solano collected 10 boards.

Merrimack also held the offensive advantage throughout the night as the Warriors shot 44 percent (27-of-62) from the field, including a solid 44 percent (8-of-18) from three-point range. The Ravens, though, shot just 36 percent from the floor and a sluggish 17 percent (4-of-23) from three-point range.

Jean-Guillaume rained in a three and laid in another basket over a two-minute span during the middle portion of the second half to aid an 11-1 run by Franklin Pierce to force a 41-41 tie with 12:47 to go. The run helped the Ravens overcome a double-digit deficit early in the second half.

The momentum, however, was short-lived as Merrimack responded with 11-straight points of its own to go back up by double-figures and never looked back in taking the win. Strickland bombed in back-to-back triples to spark the surge and Ryan Woumn followed with a trey of his own to aid it.

The win enabled Merrimack to force a split in the two-game regular season series as the Ravens earned an 86-69 decision in the first meeting back on Nov. 14 in Rindge.

The Ravens came out of the gates strong in this one and used a 10-0 run, sparked by a three-point play from Cooper and capped by five-consecutive points from sophomore forward Ryen Vilmont (Philadelphia, Pa.), to take a 19-12 lead with 8:41 to go until halftime.

But just as they would in the second half, Merrimack answered Franklin Pierce's run with a lengthy one of its own as the Warriors reeled off 10-straight points. Solano knocked down a three-ball to kick-start the rally and Clifford capped it with a three-point play.

Clifford scored the final three points of the half to give the Warriors a 30-25 lead at halftime and they would continue to add to their lead in the opening stages of the second half, including pushing it out to 38-27 four minutes in on the strength of a Clifford layup.

The Ravens slowly chipped away at the deficit and eventually knotted the score before Merrimack went on its final run to earn the win.

For more information on Franklin Pierce men's basketball, please visit the team's page at To follow the program even further, please visit Franklin Pierce Athletics on YouTube (, Twitter ( and Facebook ( Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce men's basketball apparel can do so on the athletic department's online store at