MANCHESTER, N.H. (December 20, 2015) – Junior Donte Gittens (Hartford, Conn.) sported a team-high 22 points on Sunday afternoon, but the Franklin Pierce University Ravens Men's Basketball team was unable to rise to the occasion and take a win over the Saint Anselm College Hawks, as they were defeated by Saint Anselm 87-74 at Stoutenburgh Gym.
With the loss, the Ravens drop their second game in a row and fall to 5-5 overall (4-3 Northeast-10), while the Hawks improve to 9-1 overall (6-1 Northeast-10) and remain as a top team in the conference.
The game started out as a full on barnburner, as both teams found a lead at one point through the first ten minutes of play. Despite the Hawks holding a lead for a majority of the first ten minutes, the Ravens fought back from a slim six point deficit to tie things up at 15-15 after a good layup by Gittens. Franklin Pierce then grabbed the lead at the 9:42 mark after a three-pointer by sophomore Mike McDevitt (Cumberland, Maine) to put the Ravens up by one, 18-17.
Franklin Pierce would find their largest lead of the game with 7:58 to play in the first half, a five point lead after yet another Gittens layup giving the Ravens a 25-20 lead. From there, play would fall apart for the Ravens, as they would go cold from the field. This allowed Saint Anselm to take advantage, as the Hawks would spin off a 12-1 run over the next five minutes, pushing their lead to 10 points with 3:26 to play after a layup by Cody Ball to make the score 36-26.
However, the double-digit lead didn't throw the Ravens off their game, as they stayed persistent and found their groove on the floor once again. Junior Matt Banton (Brooklyn, N.Y.) hit a jumper with 27 seconds to go to bring the Franklin Pierce deficit to only three points going into the locker room at the half.
Thanks to Gittens, he led the Ravens out of the gate quick as Franklin Pierce hopped out to an early second half lead through the first five minutes. Highlighted by a Gittens dunk, the run was topped by a McDevitt layup with 15:32 to play, with the Ravens on top 48-43.
The Hawks were able to get three stops in a row, followed by ensuing baskets to hit a small 6-0 run to climb back into contention over the next three minutes of play, as the teams jostled for position on the scoreboard. It would be Banton hitting one of his classic shots from distance to get the Ravens within one point, as they trailed 54-53 with 12:24 to go.
From there, Franklin Pierce would once again fall apart from the floor, as the Hawks were able to pull away with a 12-2 run over the next two minutes, as Saint Anselm grabbed a 66-55 lead with 10:27 to play. After that run, the Ravens were unable to recover, as the Hawks were able to coast to the 87-74 victory.
Behind Gittens' effort was McDevitt, who fell only one rebound away from a back-to-back game with a double-double, recording 17 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore Asante Sandiford (Boston, Mass.) found success in the block, putting home 15 points and recording a team-high four steals.
Saint Anselm saw Mike McCahey put up 22 points, while Chris Braley also notched 20 points as each of them also grabbed six rebounds. Victor Joshua found his way to 18 points while using an 8-for-9 day from the free-throw line. Harrison Taggart and Ball each topped double-digit points as well, with 13 and 11 respectively.
Saint Anslem made it tough for the Ravens to keep up in the second half, as they shot 58.1 percent from the field over the final 20 minutes. While the Ravens stayed consistent from the field over the duration of the game, their struggles from behind the three-point arc stood out, as they shot only 27.8 percent from distance.
The Ravens now will see their next game after the New Year, as they will play in the James Clancy Memorial Tournament at Dominican College, first taking on Felician on January 2nd at 2 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 basketball apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store).