NEW HAVEN, Conn. (January 21, 2017) – Matt Banton (Brooklyn, N.Y.) tallied a career-high 30 points on a 8-of-17 (47.1%) three-point shooting performance as the Franklin Pierce University men's basketball team dropped their third straight game, 86-82 to Northeast-10 Conference opponent Southern Connecticut State University on Saturday afternoon in the Moore Fieldhouse.
The win snapped the Owl's two game winning streak and moved them to 13-6, 9-3 NE10 and the loss dropped FPU to 10-8, 7-5 NE10. Before tip-off the Ravens were second in the Northeast Division of the NE10 with a 7-4 conference record. With the loss, FPU dropped to third place at 7-5 and Southern New Hampshire (9-3) and Merrimack (8-5) are ahead of the Ravens. Pierce lost to SNHU and defeated Merrimack in their meetings early on in the season.
Junior forward Mike McDevitt (Cumberland, Maine) recorded his first double-double of the season with 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Jordan Lackey (South Plainfield, N.J.) scored 16 points to go along with nine rebounds. Team captain Donte Gittens (Hartford, Conn.) chipped in six points, eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals and a block. Oladoyin Fadojutimi (Temple Hills, Md.) chipped in 10 points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals off the bench.
Lackey and Banton came alive in the second half. Lackey scored 13 of his 16 total points in the second stanza and grabbed six of his nine boards in the final frame. Banton scored 16 of his 30 markers in final 20 minutes.
For Southern Connecticut, Michael Mallory led the team with 24 points and 10 assists. Austin Carter added 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Joey Wallace came off the bench and scored 17 points, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out five assists.
FPU came down with 18 offensive rebounds compared to the hosts 10 and outscored their opponents 21-12 when given a second chance.
Franklin Pierce scored the first five points of the contest as McDevitt drained a three from Gittens and Asante Sandiford (Boston, Mass.) scored a second chance layup after a missed three by Banton. The Owls responded by tallying seven in a row from on a dunk by Austin Carter, an Isaiah McLeod three-ball and a Jerry Luckett lay-in.
The Ravens then took an 20-11 lead after a Gerard Gray Jr. (Washington, D.C.) three pointer from the left wing, a layup down low by Marvilio Berroa (Bronx, N.Y.) and another two from Fadojutimi. 16 straight points were then scored by the Owls as they turned a nine point deficit into a seven point lead as Joey Wallace capped off the scoring binge with two free throws to put the hosts in front 27-20 with 7:44 left in the half.
The game of runs continued as Pierce racked up seven in a row fueled by a Banton three, a layup and a McDevitt jumper. Point trading continued until McLeod made it a two possession game at 39-34 when he knocked down a layup with 1:15 left. Banton outscored the Owls 6-1 over the final seconds using two three-balls. The bank was open late for Banton as his trey from the top of the point banged off the glass with seven ticks to go to knot the score at 40 all at the intermission.
The second half saw Lackey score the first four points of the period via two freebies and a layup to put FPU up four, 44-40. Mallory then used an old fashioned three point play to put his team within one point, 44-43.
Down by three, Banton hit another shot from long range to tie up the contest at 49-49 with 16:38 left. About two minutes later, Banton again connected from deep this time to give FPU a one point 55-54 lead and on the next Raven possession Banton rose up again from beyond the arc and drained another trey to push the Ravens lead to 58-54. Austin Carter made it a one possession contest with a driving layup from McLeod and then Lackey used a hoop and harm to push the Ravens ahead by five, 61-56.
SCSC scored 11 in a row with Mallory capping the run with a three-pointer to put the Owls ahead 67-61. The Ravens couldn't buy a point over the next four and a half minutes until Gittens made a driving layup to cut the deficit to 67-63.
Mallory continued his offensive onslaught by making a jumper and three pointer on the next two Owl possessions and then Joey Wallace poured in a layup to put SCSU ahead by 10, 74-64 with 6:38 left.
Ahead by six Toby Christensen buried a three-ball to push the Owls lead to 80-71. FPU responded with five straight points, one on a Fadojutimi free throw, two on a Banton layup, and the final two points on a Fadojutimi steal and coast to coast lay-in to make it a four point game with under two minutes to go.
Fadojutimi had a chance to cut the deficit to one, but his spot up corner three clanked off the rim and on the next Owl offensive chance, Christensen cleaned up a missed Mallory jumper and put the rock in for the second chance points to push the lead to 82-76. Lackey was fouled underneath the hoop after an offensive rebound and he made his two free throws to drop the Owl lead back to four, 82-78.
The Ravens hung around thanks to a travel by Mallory which gave Pierce the rock with 33 seconds left. Banton just missed a long range connection, Lackey cleaned up the ball, missed a layup and then McDevitt was fouled when he grabbed the board. The junior forward knocked down both freebies which once again made it a one possession 82-80 game.
FPU was forced to foul and they sent Joey Wallace to the line and he buried both free throws to push the Owl advantage back up to four, 84-80. Banton brought the ball up the court and drew a foul on a three-point attempt. He promptly made two of three from the line which again brought the Owl lead back to two with six seconds to go.
After a Raven timeout, Mallory was fouled, made both free throws and a last chance heave by Gittens as he tried to draw a foul landed out of bounds as the Owls won by an 86-82 score.
The Ravens return to Rindge on Tuesday for an NE10 showdown against Pace 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).