Men's Basketball Reaches NE-10 Semis by Rallying for 85-80 Win over Southern Connecticut

Men's Basketball Reaches NE-10 Semis by Rallying for 85-80 Win over Southern Connecticut

Ryen Vilmont adds double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds in the win

RINDGE, N.H. (March 3, 2013) -- The Franklin Pierce University men's basketball team advanced to the Northeast-10 Conference Championship semifinal round with an 85-80 win over a pesky Southern Connecticut State squad in the quarterfinals on Sunday afternoon at The Fieldhouse in Rindge. The fourth-seeded Ravens improved to 20-7, while the fifth-seeded Owls fell to 17-10.

The Ravens reached the 20-win plateau for the second-straight season and will now take on the top-seeded Saint Anselm Hawks in the semis on Wednesday night at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium in Manchester. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. Franklin Pierce and Saint Anselm split their two-game regular season series with each winning on their respective home court.

Senior guard Eric Jean-Guillaume (Stamford, Conn.) and junior forward Ellis Cooper (Northampton, Mass.) each pumped in a team-high 19 points. The two players turned in strong performances just a couple of days after they were honored by the NE-10, including Jean-Guillaume picking up his second-consecutive player-of-the-year accolade.

Cooper also logged a double-double as he ripped down 10 rebounds. Sophomore forward Ryen Vilmont (Philadelphia, Pa.) also tallied a double-double for the Ravens with 16 points and 11 boards and junior forward Ant Lessane (Brooklyn, N.Y.) came off the bench to add 10 points in the win.

Southern Connecticut also had four players score in double-digits, led by Greg Langston's game-high 31 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the field, including an impressive 6-of-8 effort from three-point range. Trevon Hamlet followed with a double-double of 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Tylon Smith and Luke Houston added 12 and 10, respectively.

Franklin Pierce held a double-digit lead for a majority of the second half, but quickly saw its lead evaporate with a furious rally by the Owls. Southern Connecticut mounted a 14-3 run midway through the stanza to knot the score at 62-all, and then reeled off eight-consecutive points minutes later to take a 72-67 lead with 7:18 remaining. Langston buried a three to kick-start the run, while Houston capped it with five points on a three-ball and layup.

Franklin Pierce didn't fold and a Vilmont three, followed by a Cooper layup, put the Ravens back up at 73-32. Smith answered with a layup at the other end of the court, but Vilmont and Cooper teamed up once again as each hit a pair of foul shots on back-to-back possessions to make it 77-74.

Jean-Guillaume then stepped up for the Ravens and tossed in a layup and converted a pair of foul shots. Vilmont made another trip to the free throw line and when he sank both opportunities the Ravens held an 82-76 lead with just 1:18 left, which sealed the post-season win.

Franklin Pierce shot a strong 51 percent (28-of-55) from the floor for the game.

The game went back and forth with eight lead changes over the opening nine minutes, but Franklin Pierce finally was able to gain some traction with a 7-0 run, keyed by a three-pointer from junior guard Curtis Christian (Harlem, N.Y.), to take a 31-24 lead with 6:55 to go until halftime.

Jean-Guillaume had a steal and coast-to-coast dunk at the buzzer to cap a wild first half as the Ravens held a narrow 46-43 lead at the intermission. The Ravens scored the opening seven points of the second half to open up a 10-point advantage, and their lead hovered around that mark for the next several minutes before the Owls made their run to get back in it.

The win enabled Franklin Pierce to exact some revenge against Southern Connecticut, which downed the Ravens 68-65 back on Jan. 9 in New Haven.

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