RINDGE, N.H. (January 11, 2017) – The Franklin Pierce University men's basketball team scored over 100 points for the second straight contest as the Ravens defeated Northeast-10 Conference opponent American International College 105-95 on Wednesday night in The Fieldhouse. The win, the Crimson and Grey's fourth in a row improves them to 10-5 overall and 7-2 in league play while the setback drops the Yellow Jackets to 7-10, 1-8 NE10.
Last week against Adelphi, FPU scored 101 points making it the first time since 2013 that they eclipsed 100 points. Tonight, the Ravens racked up 100 or more points in back to back contests for the first time since the 1983-84 campaign when the feat was accomplished twice during the year. Pierce beat Johnson State by a 122-48 score and then earned a 51 point victory against Lyndon State 103-52 early on in the season. Then Pierce defeated Eastern Nazarene 108-85 and Lyndon State again 109-100 near the end of the year.
Team captain Donte Gittens (Hartford, Conn.) led the charge with a team-high 25 points and a game-best 12 assists en route to his second double-double of the season. Gittens also secured five rebounds, matched a personal-best with five thefts and blocked three shots all in 33 minutes of play.
Jordan Lackey (South Plainfield, N.J.) poured in a career-high 23 points to go with a personal-high eight caroms. Matt Banton (Brooklyn, N.Y.) scored 24 points and Asante Sandiford (Boston, Mass.) recorded a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds while adding four assists, two steals and a stuff.
Franklin Pierce chalked up 25 points off 14 Yellow Jacket turnovers as they constantly capitalized on AIC mistakes. The guests however, won the battle in the paint (54 points to 46 points) and second chance opportunities (21 points to six points).
Like the Ravens, AIC had four of five starters reach double-figure scoring totals as Bruce Spruell led the way with a game-high 27 points to go along with a team-high nine assists and six rebounds. Justin Daniel came off the bench and scored 20 points in 21 minutes of play before fouling out.
The first half was played at a chaotic pace as both teams ran up and down the floor at will. Rasheed Howard opened the scoring for AIC with a reverse layup in the opening seconds. FPU would respond with 10 straight points to take a 10-2 lead as Lackey tallied five points in the run using a fast break layup and another hoop down in the low post. Sandiford ended the binge with a step back trey which put Pierce ahead eight.
AIC cut their deficit to two, 14-12 after Spruell took the ball coast to coat and laid the hammer down with a two handed slam. After a Raven turnover, AIC recaptured the lead on a step back three-ball that was swished home by Juwan Moody. Regining Spalding NE10 Rookie of the Week Oladoyin Fadojutimi (Temple Hills, Md.) answered right back with a corner three of his own coming off a Lackey feed which regained the advantage to FPU. Spruell once again tied up the contest by driving the lane for an easy two.
Over the next four minutes, Franklin Pierce took control of the contest with a momentum changing 20-0 run as a Gittens steal and one-handed baseline jam became the highlight reel play of the run. He also pumped up those in attendance with a raise the roof celebration after the emphatic slam as FPU held a 37-17 lead with 10:44 to play before the break.
AIC would cut into the Raven lead as they brought the advantage to 16 points three times over the remaining 10:44, but the Ravens held strong for a 19 point, 58-39 lead at the half.
The pace of play would change over the final 20 minutes of the contest as 33 combined fouls slowed down the game.
The slower pace seemed to suit the visitors as they cut a 22 point, 63-41 deficit to only eight points thanks to a 14-0 run. Banton stopped the run as he knocked down a corner three while falling away because he was fouled in the act of shooting off a designed inbound play. Banton hit the free throw to complete the rare four point play as the Raven lead climbed back to double digits, 67-55.
AIC continued to hang around as they once again brought the Raven lead into single figures after a Spruell layup. As they've done all game, FPU responded in a big way this time it was Lackey who converted the hoop and harm to push the lead back to 12 at 84-72 with 7:31 remaining.
Trailing by multiple possessions, AIC started to foul early as they made it a two basket game due to Raven missed free throws and a Spruell connection from deep. Banton basically ended any chance of a Yellow Jacket comeback as he drained 5-of-6 attempts from the charity stripe down the stretch as the Ravens hung on for a 105-95 victory.
The Ravens travel to NE10 opponent College of Saint Rose on Saturday for a 3:30 p.m. showdown with the Golden Knights.
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).