NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (February 8, 2018) – Franklin Pierce University men's basketball sophomore guard Doyin Fadojutimi (Temple Hills, Md.) manufactured his first career double-double with 19 points and a career-high 13 rebounds as the Ravens went into Hammel Court and dispatched Northeast-10 Conference opponent Merrimack College 92-74 Thursday evening. With the win, the Ravens roll to 13-9 overall and 8-9 NE10 while the Warriors fall to 15-9, 11-6 NE10.
The win was a huge one for the Crimson and Grey as they are currently only one game out of the fifth and final Northeast Division playoff spot. They trail no. 5 Bentley University (9-8 NE10) and no. 4 Southern New Hampshire University (9-8) and remain two games out of no. 3 seeded Stonehill College (10-7) with games remaining against Stonehill and Bentley at home in Rindge over the next two weeks.
Fadojutimi, a NE10 Weekly Honor Roll Selection on Monday, kept the extra possession alive for FPU with a game-high five offensive boards. He shot a high percentage from the floor draining 9-of-12 (75.0%) of his attempts while coming up with one steal. Fellow NE10 Weekly Honor Roll choice, team captain Mike McDevitt (Cumberland, Maine) added a squad-best 21 points to go with six rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block. Falu Seck (Washington, D.C.) chipped in 15 points, a game-high seven helpers, and six boards. Asante Sandiford (Boston, Mass) totaled 16 markers and was 3-of-5 (60.0%) from long range. Jordan Lackey (South Plainfield, N.J.) produced 10 points as all Raven starters tallied double-digit scoring.
For the hosts, sophomore guard Juvaris Hayes led all players with 23 points while handing out seven assists and coming up with four steals. Troy McLaughlin was the only other Warrior to reach double-figures with 10 points.
As a team, the Ravens shot a season-high 59.3% (35-of-59) from the floor. The Ravens also won by a considerable margin despite turning the ball over 23 times and allowing the Warriors to score 30 points off those miscues. FPU led for the majority of the duel (33:07) as the lead only changed hands once.
Hayes notched the first points of the contest when he was fouled after a take to the rack. The sophomore guard buried both attempts to give the host Warriors a 2-0 edge. Lackey immediately gained those points back with a transition drive through the left of the defense. Two straight lay-ins by the Warriors made the score 6-2 before a McDevitt turn-around mid-range jumper from the right elbow brought the game to 6-4. Trailing 9-4 following a Hayes set and pop trey, The Ravens went on a 12-0 scoring binge to lead 16-9. Lackey tallied a post layup then Seck sliced through the paint and dished off a kick-out pass to a wide-open Sandiford in the right corner for a trifecta to knot the score at 9-9. McDevitt gave the guests their first lead of the contest with a hoop and harm and he added to the score with a mid-range fade-away. Devonte McCall (Amherst, Mass.) increased the Raven advantage with a strong drive through the hole.
Merrimack guard Jaleel Lord gained five points back for the Warriors when he cleaned up a missed layup and drained a wide-open trey to cut his squads deficit to 16-14. A Lackey lay-in and a Seck catch and shoot three-ball from the left wing regained those markers back to FPU's side at 21-16. The point swapping continued as the score was once again tied at 21 all before the Crimson and Grey recorded nine consecutive points via two Fadojutimi second chance conversions, a Fadojutimi jumper and a McDevitt wide-open downtown connection from the wing to pull ahead 30-21. The Raven run was capped off at 13-2 when Fadojutimi cut through traffic for another layup, his eighth point of the stretch, which grew the Pierce lead to 34-23. Hayes singlehandedly dropped the Raven advantage to six, 36-30 with a right-wing three-ball and a steal and score. Seck immediately gained those markers back using a one-handed scoop high off the glass and a three-pointer as the Ravens led by 11, 41-30 at the intermission.
Franklin Pierce outshot Merrimack 62.1% to 30.8% from the hardwood in the first half, but the Warriors snagged more offensive rebounds (12-to-5) and tallied more points off turnovers (14-to-8).
McDevitt began the second half by fading-away from his defender on the left block to increase the Raven edge to 43-30. Following a Merrimack make, McDevitt and Khalief Crawford traded three-balls before Sandiford drained a trey from the right corner to up the lead to 49-35 in favor of the Ravens. Pierce opened up a 23 point, 58-35 lead via a 17-5 scoring run and a Sandiford power drive through the lane.
Hayes brought Merrimack's deficit below 20, 60-42 at the 12:02 mark when he drained both attempts from the line. Down by 19, a Kyle Howes hoop and harm followed by a Hayes theft and dish to Tawayne Anderson Jr. for a one-handed jam decreased the Warrior deficit to 14, 61-47 with 10:09 to play. The Ravens reestablished a 20 point lead, 78-57 with 5:08 left when Fadojutimi lofted an alley-oop to McCall who threw down a two-handed slam with authority.
The Ravens close out the season with three of their final four games at home in the Fieldhouse. They return to Rindge on Saturday ar an NE10 showdown with Stonehill College at 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 men's basketball apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store). You can also follow the men's basketball team on Twitter (https://twitter.com/FPURavensMBB) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/fpuravensmbb/)