Ellis Cooper tosses in team-high 17 points for the Ravens
WALTHAM, Mass. (December 4, 2012) -- Junior guard Curtis Christian (Harlem, N.Y.) sunk two free throws with :02.4 remaining to lift the No. 15 nationally ranked Franklin Pierce University men's basketball team to a 61-60 win at Bentley in the Dana Center on Tuesday night. The Ravens improved to 6-1 overall and 4-1 in the Northeast-10, while the Falcons dipped to 4-4 and 2-3 in league play.
The two free throws by Christian capped a 12-0 run by the Ravens to close out the game and pull off the miraculous road win.
The Ravens found themselves trailing 60-49 with 3:51 remaining in the game after they had went a little more than six minutes without a field goal made and exactly two points scored on a pair of free throws.
Bentley, on the other hand, had gotten hot shooting the basketball and was currently on a 20-2 run during that span to open up the 11-point advantage.
But in a wild turn of events, the Ravens got hot offensively and the Falcons cooled off considerably, which enabled Franklin Pierce to come from behind.
The winning rally started with a Christian three-pointer at the 3:14 mark, which pulled the Ravens to within eight at 60-52. It was Ellis Cooper's (Northampton, Mass.) turn to come up huge on the offensive end for the Ravens and the junior forward did just that on back-to-back possessions as he converted a three-point play at the 2:32 mark and laid in another bucket at the 2:13 mark to trim Bentley's advantage to three at 60-57.
After yet another Bentley miss, junior forward Adrianos Vourliotakis Perdikaris (Cholargos, Athens) laid in a basket with 1:33 to go and the Ravens were now down by just one.
The Falcons could not convert at the foul line in the closing seconds, thus allowing for the Ravens to set up for a potential game-winning shot. Franklin Pierce had several looks underneath the basket in the last series, but could not throw in any of their attempts. Christian was able to wrestle away a rebound and draw a foul on a shot attempt to set up his free throw opportunites. Bentley tried to ice him with a timeout, but Christian sank both foul shots, and the Falcons threw up a desperation shot at the buzzer that was not even close to the mark.
Christian ended the game with nine points off the bench, while also collecting four rebounds. Cooper led the Ravens in scoring with 17 points, while senior guard Eric Jean-Guillaume (Stamford, Conn.) followed with 14.
The Ravens appeared to be pulling away from Bentley midway through the second half as sophomore forward Ryen Vilmont (Philadelphia, Pa.) hit a layup with 10:08 remaining to push Franklin Pierce's lead out to 47-40.
However, the Ravens suddenly went cold shooting the basketball and Bentley took advantage of the miscues by reeling off 14-consecutive points to take a 54-47 lead with 4:56 left. Andrew Shaw knocked down a pair of triples to aid the run, while JP Koury, who pumped in a game-high 21 points, capped it with a driving layup.
Jean-Guillaume finally broke Franklin Pierce's cold spell with a pair of free throws, but the Falcons responded with back-to-back three-pointers from Koury and Jasper Grassa to push their lead out to 60-49. That was Bentley's final offensive flurry before Franklin Pierce countered with its closing run to pick up the win.
Tyler McFarland was Bentley's other double-figure scorer with 12 points, while the Falcons shot 39 percent (22-of-57) from the field. Franklin Pierce shot just 33 percent (23-of-70) from the floor, but held a commanding advantage at the free throw line by knocking down 85 percent (11-of-13) of its attempts. Bentley, on the other hand, converted at just a 54 percent pace from the foul line (7-of-13).
Bentley came out firing in the opening stages of the first half and used a 7-0 run midway through the frame to take a 27-19 lead with 5:15 to go. McFarland led the surge with four points and Koury knocked down a trey to aid it.
Christian stemmed the tide with a layup at the other end of the court, which ignited a 13-5 rally by the Ravens over the final minutes of the period to enable them to pull even at 32-32 at halftime.
Jean-Guillaume, who bombed in a pair of three-pointers and scored eight points in the stanza, aided the final surge with a trey, while Cooper and Ant Lessane (Brooklyn, N.Y.) each chipped in with a three-point play on a layup and free throw.
Franklin Pierce returns to action Saturday when the Ravens play host to UMass-Lowell 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 men's basketball apparel can do so on the athletic department's online store at athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store(.)