#23 Men's Basketball Can't Hold Double-Digit Lead in Falling 68-66 at Saint Michael's

#23 Men's Basketball Can't Hold Double-Digit Lead in Falling 68-66 at Saint Michael's

Adrianos Vourliotakis Perdikaris with 10 points for the Ravens

COLCHESTER, Vt. (November 20, 2013) – Senior forward Ellis Cooper (Northampton, Mass.) dumped in a game-high 18 points, but it wasn’t enough as the No. 23 nationally ranked Franklin Pierce University men’s basketball team couldn’t hold a 14-point second-half lead in dropping a 68-66 decision at Saint Michael’s on Wednesday night at Ross Sports Center in Colchester, Vt.

Franklin Pierce had its five-game winning streak snapped in falling to 5-1 overall and 0-1 in the Northeast-10, while the Purple Knights improved to 5-0 and 1-0 in league play.

Cooper notched a three-point play on a layup and free throw with 13:32 remaining, and the Ravens took what seemed to be a comfortable 55-41 advantage. It was Franklin Pierce’s largest lead of the night, as the Ravens had held a 9-12 point lead for most of the early going of the second half.

However, Saint Michael’s was up to the challenge on this night of stringing together a winning rally. Matt Bonds and James Cambronne each threw in four points apiece to spark an 8-0 run, as it was part of a 16-4 surge over a seven-minute span for the Purple Knights to pull within two at 59-57. Cambrone paced St. Mike’s with a team-high 17 points, while Bonds followed with 16.

Cooper stemmed the tide with three-straight points to put the Ravens up by five with 6:23 to go. St. Mike’s kept coming, and tied the game at 64-all following a tip-in from Bonds, but Cooper once again responded on the other end with a layup to put the Ravens up 66-64 with 2:22 left.

It was Bonds’ turn to answer, and he did on a three-point play at the other end of the court to put the Purple Knights up 67-66. The Ravens had three more possessions after going down, but could not come up with the winning basket, as Saint Michael’s picked up an impressive come-from-behind win against one of the top teams in the nation.

Cooper was one of four Raven starters to score in double-figures, and was joined by junior forward Ryen Vilmont (Philadelphia, Pa.) and freshman guard Donte Gittens (Hartford, Conn.), who had 11 points apiece, and by senior forward Adrianos Vourliotakis Perdikaris (Cholargos, Athens) with 10 points.

Each of those four came up big early as the Ravens raced out to a 10-0 lead to begin the game, and eventually built a 39-31 lead at halftime.

However, St. Mike’s was able to make the comeback by outrebounding the Ravens, 42-39, and taking care of the basketball by not committing many turnovers.

Franklin Pierce returns to action Saturday afternoon when the Ravens travel to North Andover, Mass. to take on Merrimack at 3 p.m.

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(.)