PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (November 14, 2015) – Junior Matt Banton (Brooklyn, N.Y.) made quite an impression in his crimson and grey debut on Saturday evening, coming off the bench for a team-leading 17 points. However, the Franklin Pierce University Ravens Men's Basketball team dropped their season-opener to Philadelphia University by a final of 80-75 in overtime, as Kaison Randolph notched a game-high 28 points for Philadelphia University.
With the loss, the Ravens drop to 0-1 (0-0 Northeast-10) on the season, while Philadelphia University improves to 1-0 (0-0 CACC) on the young year.
Things got off to an electric start, as junior Donte Gittens (Hartford, Conn.) led off the game with a steal and dunk for the first score, giving the Ravens early momentum. Franklin Pierce jumped out to a five point lead about halfway through, after a three-pointer from junior Ben Mead (Ipswich, England) giving the Ravens a 15-10 lead. Senior Tyler Iacuone (Mahopac, N.Y.) would give the Ravens the same five point lead just a few minutes later with 11:16 to play after he drained a three-pointer as well for an 18-13 lead.
Randolph would then step in for Philadelphia, hitting a three pointer to counter Iacuone, then grab a steal in the ensuing possession and dish the rock to Brenden Kilpatrick for a three-pointer to give Philadelphia a 19-18 lead with 10 minutes to play in the half.
After some see-saw play between the teams, another three-pointer by Randolph gave Philadelphia the slight three point edge with 9:07 to play. From there, they would run with the lead through the rest of the half, gaining at most a 14 point lead, and would enter the locker room with a 10 point spread between the teams.
To begin the second half, Franklin Pierce came out flying, and were able to cut the lead down to just one point seven minutes into the half, topped by a jumper from sophomore Mike McDevitt (Cumberland, Maine). Philadelphia battled to hold the lead, and would do so until 11:58 remaining, when junior Marvilio Berroa (Bronx, N.Y.) knocked down a layup to put the score at 52-51 in favor of the Ravens.
Franklin Pierce continued to hold the lead down the stretch despite Philadelphia breathing down there neck. But TJ Huggins had other thoughts, as his jumper with 3:51 to play gave Philadelphia the lead back at 69-68. That score would stand until only 27 seconds remained, as McDevitt would find his way to the foul line down by one. He would sink both his free throws to give Franklin Pierce the one point advantage with minimal time to play.
But 10 seconds later, Huggins would drive and draw a foul on Berroa, putting him at the line for Philadelphia with a chance to tie or take the lead. Huggins would split, making the first and missing the second, giving the Ravens a chance down the floor with 17 second to play. Gittens would drive the lane for the Franklin Pierce, only to get rejected by Eric Long at the buzzer to send things to overtime.
Extra time wasn't kind to the Ravens, as they shot 2-8 from the field for five points. It would be Philadelphia taking the early five point lead until the Ravens wiped it away to tie the game back up at 75-75 with 1:45 to play, capped by a big three-pointer from Banton. But that's all the Ravens would get, surrendering five more points as Franklin Pierce couldn't find the cylinder before time expired.
Behind Banton's team-leading 17 points was McDevitt, who chipped in with 15 points and seven rebounds. Gittens would be the other Raven in double-figure points, scoring 14 points with seven rebounds and assists, three blocks, and two steals. Iacuone and Berroa each cashed in with nine points as well, while sophomore Asante Sandiford (Boston, Mass.) helped in the defensive effort with two blocks.
For Philadelphia behind Randolph was both Huggins and Kilpatrick, who each recorded a double-double. Kilpatrick finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds, while Huggins finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds while contributing a team-high five assists. Peter Alexis would be the only other player in double-figure points, finishing with 14.
The Ravens return to the hardwood tomorrow afternoon, Sunday, November 15 for a matchup against Chestnut Hill. Game time is set for 1 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 volleyball apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store).