Eric Jean-Guillaume adds 15 points in the setback
RINDGE, N.H. (March 9, 2013) -- The Franklin Pierce University men's basketball team couldn't shake off a sluggish first half performance and dropped an 85-74 decision to Southern New Hampshire on Saturday in the Northeast-10 Conference Championship game in The Fieldhouse in Rindge. The fourth-seeded Ravens fell to 21-8, while the sixth-seeded Penmen improved to 19-10.
B.J. Cardarelli led four Penmen who scored in double-figures as he dumped in 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field. Southern New Hampshire staged an impressive shooting performance on the afternoon as the Penmen shot 55 percent (28-of-51) from the floor.
Mike Stys netted 18 points, while Rodney Sanders followed with 17 as he went on to be named the Most Outstanding Player of the NE-10 championship. Elijah Bonsignore came off the bench to pump in 11 points for SNHU.
For as hot as SNHU was shooting the basketball, the Ravens were the opposite as they connected on just 43 percent of their attempts, including 28 percent from behind the arc.
Junior forward Ellis Cooper (Northampton, Mass.) left it all on the court in the loss as he went for 23 points and eight rebounds, while also swiping five steals, blocking two shots and dishing out a pair of assists. Senior guard Eric Jean-Guillaume (Stamford, Conn.) and sophomore forward Ryen Vilmont (Philadelphia, Pa.) each netted 15 points.
Cooper and Jean-Guillaume were named to the NE-10 All-Championship Team for their efforts. Cooper averaged a double-double in points and rebounds during the three-game tournament.
Cooper gave the Ravens an early 12-10 lead off a steal and coast-to-coast jam, but it was all Southern New Hampshire after that as the Penmen rallied with 10-straight points -- kick-started by a Stys three-pointer -- to go up by eight with 11:41 remaining until halftime.
The Ravens tried to get back in it and a floater in the lane from junior guard Scotty Tavares-Taylor (Roxbury, Mass.) pulled Franklin Pierce to within two at 22-20 with 6:51 to go. However, SNHU countered once again and closed out the half on a 16-4 run to take a commanding 38-24 lead at halftime. Cardarelli sparked the closing surge with seven points, including a deep three from the right wing.
Southern New Hampshire kept up the momentum in the second half and took a 16-point lead at 50-34 with 15:28 remaining following a three-ball from Sanders. The Penmen kept their lead around 9-to-11 points for a majority of the closing minutes to seal the championship and the NE-10's automatic bid to next weekend's NCAA Division II Tournament East Regional.
Despite the loss, Franklin Pierce will still earn an at-large bid to next weekend's national tournament. The Ravens will get official word of their first round matchup on Sunday evening during the NCAA Selection show at www.ncaa.com(.)
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 Twitter (www.twitter.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(.)