Ellis Cooper with his third-straight 20-point game
EASTON, Mass. (February 19, 2014) – Senior forward Ellis Cooper (Northampton, Mass.) netted 20 points for his third-consecutive 20-plus point scoring output, and that point total along with some clutch shots by other Ravens late propelled the Franklin Pierce University men’s basketball team to a 76-73 triumph over Stonehill on Wednesday night at Merkert Gymnasium in Easton, Mass.
The Ravens improved to 19-5 overall and 14-5 in the Northeast-10, while the Skyhawks fell to 7-17 and 4-15 in league play.
Junior guard Paul Becklens (Boston, Mass.) was responsible for one of those clutch baskets late, as his three-pointer with 90 seconds remaining snapped a 69-all tie after the Skyhawks had strung together five-straight points to knot it up.
Cooper, along with junior forward Ryen Vilmont (Philadelphia, Pa.) each drained a pair of clutch free throws in the final :17 to put the game out of reach, and seal the win for the Ravens.
Vilmont finished the game with 16 points, while Becklens chipped in eight. Senior forward Ant Lessane (Brooklyn, N.Y.) came off the bench to aid in the attack with 14 points.
Jack Cole pumped in a team-best 16 points for Stonehill.
The Ravens shot a strong 55 percent from the field, as their hot shooting was evident in the first half as Cooper keyed an 8-0 run with the final five points on pair of layups and free throw, to put Franklin Pierce up 27-22 with 8:46 to go until halftime.
Franklin Pierce continued to hang onto its lead, and took a 39-32 lead into the locker room at halftime thanks to consecutive layups from Lessane, a long-range three from Vilmont, and a driving layup from Cooper.
The Ravens continued to build on their lead, and opened up a 10-point advantage at 46-36 two minutes into the second half on a basket from Adrianos Vourliotakis Perdikaris (Cholargos, Athens).
Stonehill, however, slowly chipped away at the deficit over the next 11 minutes and finally went on top 58-56 with 7:04 remaining on a layup from Josh Heyliger.
Cooper and Vilmont hit back-to-back layups to stem the tide and put the Ravens back up, as the margin remained close until Stonehill tied it at 69-69 late.
Franklin Pierce returns to action Saturday afternoon when the Ravens play host to Merrimack at 1:30 p.m. in The Fieldhouse in Rindge.
For more information on Franklin Pierce men’s basketball, please visit the team’s page at http://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 http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store(.)