SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (January 13, 2016) – Junior Donte GIttens (Hartford, Conn.) knocked down a game-tying three pointer with 30 seconds to play against the American International College Yellow Jackets on Wednesday night, bringing the score to 86-86. But that allotted enough time for Trahmir Burrell to drain a jump shot with one second remaining to lift the Yellow Jackets over the Ravens 88-86 in Northeast-10 play.
With the loss, the Ravens drop to 7-7 overall on the season (4-5 Northeast-10) while the Yellow Jackets improve to 7-8 (3-6 Northeast-10).
Out of the gate, the breaks did not fall in the Ravens favor. At the 16:43 mark in the first half, the Yellow Jackets would take control of the game for a significant amount of time. A three-pointer from Cameron Dobbs gave AIC a 10-7 lead from that point, and led to a 14-3 run over the next six minutes giving AIC a 14-point lead, 24-10, with 11:34 to play. The Yellow Jackets would keep the pace and double-digit lead throughout the first half, as they entered the half leading by 14, 49-35.
Franklin Pierce came out in the second half looking to make a statement, and with the help of Gittens did just that, as he slammed home a dunk in the opening seconds to put the first points of the half on the board. But once again, AIC would respond as Burrell knocked down a three-pointer in the ensuing possession putting the Yellow Jackets up by 15 points. AIC would once again hold their pace and even extend their lead to 18 with 13:26 to play in the game.
The Yellow Jackets held their double-digit lead for just under 10 more minutes, as the Ravens dwindled the lead down to 13 points with 4:26 to play in the game, the score sitting 83-70 after a Max Risch three-pointer. From that point, the Ravens went on a spree.
The comeback would start after Gittens sent home a nice layup while getting fouled, converting the free throw for the three-point play and bringing the lead to 10, 83-73. Gittens would then get a steal in the following Yellow Jacket possession, where he dished an assist out to senior Jacob Jacquo (New Britain, Conn.) as Jacquo knocked down a layup to bring the lead to eight. After a missed layup on the other end of the floor, the Ravens would bring the ball back down the floor. Jacquo would step up once again, knocking down a three-pointer to now bring the lead to five points, 83-78.
With only 2:37 to play, the lead was well within reach for either side, as the Ravens continued their run. Dobbs had an opportunity to cut into the run for AIC, but missed his pair of free throws giving the Ravens a chance down at the other end of the floor. They took full advantage, as this time it was sophomore Asante Sandiford (Boston, Mass.) knocking down the three-pointer for Franklin Pierce, bringing the score to a one-possession game, 83-81. That would wrap up an 11-0 run for the Ravens over the span of two minutes.
The Ravens had a chance to equalize after a Burrell turnover, but a missed layup by Sandiford lost the opportunity, giving the ball back to the Yellow Jackets. Both teams bounced around with opportunities, but split free throws down the stretch found neither side getting an edge. With 1:16 to play, Sandiford knocked down his second free throw after missing his first attempt to bring the game 86-83 in favor of AIC.
The scenario couldn't set up any better for Franklin Pierce, as Burrell missed a layup with 42 seconds to play for AIC. The Ravens rushed the ball down, and found Gittens once again in the clutch as he knocked down the game-tying three pointer with 30 seconds to play, 86-86, thanks to a nice pass from Jacquo. But with that much time still remaining on the clock, and allowing AIC one shot, they took full advantage as Burrell knocked down the game winner with only one tick on the clock to win it.
A key down the stretch to keeping the Ravens in the game throughout was sophomore Mike McDevitt (Cumberland, Maine) as he notched a team-high 23 points on the night while also grabbing a team-high eight rebounds in the process. Gittens would finish with 16 points, eight assists, and five rebounds in putting in a well-rounded night. Both junior Matt Banton (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and sophomore Jordan Lackey (South Plainfield, N.J.) each collected 11 points as well.
For AIC, Burrell fittingly grabbed MVP of the night by grabbing a double-double, leading all scorers with 27 points and snatching 10 rebounds. Dobbs also had himself a night with 20 points, while Juwan Moody collected 17 points as well.
The disparity came in shooting percentages on the night, as AIC shot almost 50 percent from the floor in the first half, including a 6-for-9 clip from behind the arc while the Ravens struggled on offense only going 37.5 percent from the floor. However, the tides turned as the Ravens turned in a 45 percent round in the second half while the Yellow Jackets dropped to 39 percent in the second half.
The Ravens return to the hardwood this Saturday, January 16 when they face Saint Rose at home in Rindge at the Fieldhouse. Tip-off is set for 3:30 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 basketball apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store).