#10 Men's Basketball Opens NE-10 Play with Convincing 86-69 Win over Merrimack

#10 Men's Basketball Opens NE-10 Play with Convincing 86-69 Win over Merrimack

Paul Dick tosses in career-high 10 points in the win

RINDGE, N.H. (November 14, 2012) -- The No. 10 nationally ranked Franklin Pierce University men's basketball team opened its Northeast-10 Conference schedule on Wednesday night with an 86-69 win over Merrimack at The Fieldhouse in Rindge. The Ravens improved to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the Northeast-10, while Warriors dipped to 2-1 and 0-1 in league play.

Junior forward Ellis Cooper (Northampton, Mass.) pumped in a game-high 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field to lead the Ravens to victory.

Franklin Pierce's reserves got into the act as three Ravens came off the bench to log double-figures in scoring, including a career-high 11 points from junior forward Matt Barboza (East Providence, R.I.), who dropped in three first-half three-pointers and was 4-of-5 shooting from the field. Sophomore guard Paul Dick (Belfast, Ireland) netted a career-high 10 points, while junior backcourt-mate Curtis Christian (Harlem, N.Y.) added 10 points as well, marking his second-straight game he came off the bench to log double-digits.

The Ravens shot 50 percent (29-of-58) from the field, including a sizzling 59 percent (13-of-22) from three-point range. Franklin Pierce also came up big behind the arc on the other end of the court as it limited the Warriors to just 15 percent shooting (2-of-13) from three-point land.

Mike Clifford and Gelvis Solano each scored a team-high 16 points for Merrimack as all five Warrior starters registered double-figure scoring games.

Merrimack held a commanding 41-28 advantage on the glass, but its cold shooting from beyond the arc and 16 turnovers limited its chances to pick up an upset win.

The game remained close in the early stages of the first half, but the Ravens used an 8-0 run midway through the period to go from a slim two-point edge to a 25-15 cushion with 7:23 remaining. Cooper began the rally with a layup and junior guard Georgios Papapetrou (Athens, Greece) and Christian followed with back-to-back triples.

The three-ball continued for the Ravens later in the half as Barboza sandwiched a pair of triples around one from sophomore forward Ryen Vilmont (Philadelphia, Pa.) to extend Franklin Pierce's lead to 42-28. The Ravens eventually took a 46-34 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Franklin Pierce didn't let up at all in the second half and eventually opened up a 63-43 lead with 13:36 remaining following a layup from Dick. Senior forward Ant Lessane (Brooklyn, N.Y.) knocked down a three moments later to give Franklin Pierce its largest lead of the night at 26 points, 73-47.

The home win was Franklin Pierce's 12th in its last 14 in The Fieldhouse dating back to the start of last season. Ten (10) of those 12 victories have come double-digit margins. The win was also Franklin Pierce's second straight over the Warriors as the Ravens concluded the 2011-12 regular season with a triumph over Merrimack in Rindge.

Franklin Pierce returns to action next Tuesday when it travels to Easton, Mass. to take on defending NCAA East Regional champion Stonehill at 7:30 p.m.

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(.)