RINDGE, N.H. (February 6, 2016) -- Stonehill was able to keep a double-digit lead for most of the game on Saturday afternoon, but the Franklin Pierce University men's basketball team was able to put together enough points to come within one point after junior guard Donte Gittens (Hartford, Conn.) sank a three-pointer. Ultimately, however, Franklin Pierce could not come all the way back and dropped the Northeast-10 decision, 81-79, in the Fieldhouse.
With the loss, Franklin Pierce falls to 12-9 (9-7 Northeast-10), while Stonehill improves to 17-5 (12-4 Northeast-10).
Sophomore center Mike McDevitt (Cumberland, Maine) put the Ravens on the board, but an early 12-2 Stonehill run would set the Skyhawks out front. Senior guard Adam Bramanti, senior forward Pierce Cumpstone and senior guard Carter Smith all saw points in the run, which Smith capped with a steal and two free throws.
Junior guard Matt Banton (Brooklyn, N.Y.) put a stop to the streak with a good hoop, and sophomore forward Jordan Lackey (South Plainfield, N.J.) followed behind with a layup but Smith answered immediately with a three-pointer to make the Stonehill lead 17-6.
Senior guard Tyler Iacuone (Mahopac, N.Y.) and Gittens later connected for four straight points to cut the gap to 20-10. Stonehill senior guard Daniel Brix got an offensive rebound and sent the ball back in for a 22-10 lead with 12 minutes left in the half. Gittens answered with a layup to cut into the deficit, but Smith again answered with a three-pointer, making it 25-12.
Sophomore forward Asante Sandiford (Boston. Mass.) hit a jumper from the corner, which Gittens followed up with two more points. Stonehill fired back, as Bramanti and Cumpstone connected with triples, making it 31-18. Iacuone knocked down a three from the right side, Sandiford split his free throws and Banton sank a three-pointer, as the Ravens move in on the Skyhawks lead, cutting it to 37-25 with just under six minutes to go in the half.
Junior forward Ryan Logan hit a three with just over four minutes left in the half, but Gittens and Banton connected on back-to-back jumpers, making it 42-29. Cumpstone found the backboard for a layup, before Iacuone turned around and sank another three and Gittens got in the mix with a layup, making it 44-34 with two minutes left.
With 30 seconds to go, Logan put home a three-point shot, but it was Banton's layup which would close the first half of the game, with Stonehill leading 47-37 going into the second half.
Iacuone started the second half with a bang, as he buried a three from the top of the arc. Cumpstone was right behind him with a layup, but Gittens again answered for the Ravens. Smith shot and sank a three-pointer, followed by a steal and a layup by Bramanti to make it a 54-42 Skyhawks lead.
A two-minute defensive lock was later broken by Banton with a triple from the left corner, which set off a spark of threes. Lackey joined in with another left-corner three, before Banton again, which cut the deficit to seven points, 58-51.
Smith followed the Ravens shots with a shot outside the arc as well, while Sandiford hit a jumper and Gittens followed suit with a three from the right corner to answer a Smith layup, but Stonehill still led, 65-56, with 9:30 left in the game.
A Stonehill steal led to sophomore forward Joel Berroa putting away a breakaway layup. Lackey and Iacuone connected to answer, as Lackey had a layup and Iacuone hit a three from the right side. Gittens then rebounded his own shot and kicked the ball out to McDevitt for a three, which he buried, cutting the gap to 69-64.
A series of three-point shots ensued, as Smith sank a shot and Iacuone responded with one as well. Logan hit a three and Bramanti rounded out the run of three-pointers by sinking his shot, making it 78-67 with just under five minutes to play.
The Ravens found a 12-2 run as a last effort to push past the Skyhawks. Gittens sank a three-pointer with 30 seconds to go to make it a one-point game. On the final possession though, Banton came up empty on a contested three from the left corner, and the Ravens fell to Stonehill, 81-79.
Leading Franklin Pierce in scoring was Gittens with 24 points, to go with eight rebounds, while Iacuone followed close behind with 19 points. The Ravens shot 50% (32-64) from the field and just 28.6% (2-7) from the line, while they totaled 34 points in the paint and 24 points off the bench.
Leading Stonehill was Smith with 23 points, while Cumpstone notched a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. The Skyhawks shot 48.2% (27-56) in the field and 86.7% (13-15) from the line.
The Ravens play next at Saint Michael's on February 9th at 7:30 p.m.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce men's basketball apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store).