Men’s Basketball Battles Back Down 25, Roberts Wesleyan Clings On For Close Victory

Brandon Kolek (Photo Courtesy of Dan Forget Photography)
Brandon Kolek (Photo Courtesy of Dan Forget Photography)

This Franklin Pierce University men's basketball recap is presented by Belletetes

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (January 8, 2019) – Franklin Pierce University men's basketball freshman guard Brandon Kolek (Cumberland, R.I.) earned the first start of his collegiate career turning in a personal and game-high 21 points as the Ravens rallied down 25 points in the first half before falling to non-conference foe Roberts Wesleyan College 81-76 Tuesday afternoon at the Voller Athletic Center.

The setback sends FPU to 6-8 overall as they end their non-conference slate at 4-3. The win sends the Red Hawks to 6-4 on the campaign.

Kolek bettered his previous career-high in scoring by five points as he manufactured 16 points in the Ravens 100-58 win at LIU Post back in November. The newcomer played 18 minutes, drained 8-of-12 (66.7%) of his field goal attempts including 4-of-7 (57.1%) from beyond the arc. He also added two rebounds and one assist.

Team captain Doyin Fadojutimi came off the bench and scored 17 points to go along with a team-high six rebounds, two blocks, and one theft. Junior Jameson Pierrelus (Martin County, Fla.) joined his teammates in double-figures with 11 points of his own and a team-best six rebounds with three coming on the offensive end.

Four of five starters for Roberts Wesleyan tallied double digits led by 17 markers from Isaiah Lewis. Franklin Pierce scored 25 points off 22 Red Hawk miscues however they never led in this battle.

The Red Hawks scored the opening eight points of the game to jump ahead 8-0 following back-to-back three-pointers. Pierrelus dropped in the first Raven points by connecting on a long-range attempt. The hosts expanded their lead to 10 points just 3:03 in, 13-3 as center Jean Toussaint gobbled up the board of a blocked Lewis shot by Raven sophomore guard Sam van Oostrum (Sheffield, England) and put the rock back in for the second chance points. Their advantage expanded to 14, 19-5 via another Toussaint second-chance bucket. The Red Hawks continued to tack on points to the large edge moving ahead by 15, 22-7 following a Michael Bush hoop and harm at the 12:10 mark.

A Fope Okuyiga jumper upped the margin to 21, 32-11 in favor of Roberts Wesleyan. Lewis moved the Red Hawks score to 40-15 with 2:15 left before the break. Back-to-back Kolek driving layups to the rim with the second make coming off a freshman forward Connor Cullen (Ankeny, Iowa) theft brought the Raven deficit to 40-19. Cullen went to the line with a second left after making a layup while being fouled. He successfully completed the and1 opportunity as the Ravens were down 42-22 at the intermission.

FPU struggled shooting in the first half knocking down 25% (10-of-40) of their attempts from the floor and going 1-for-17 (5.9%) from three-point land. Roberts knocked down 58.6% (17-of-29) of their shot attempts. The Ravens shooting drastically improved in the second stanza as they hit on 43.9% (18-of-41) of their field goal attempts and their three-balls started to fall as well (41.7%, 10-of-24).

The second half went scoreless for the first three minutes until senior guard David Bradbury Jr. (Deep River, Conn.) knocked home a trifecta making the Raven deficit 42-25. With 10 minutes to go, the Raven press led to seven straight points, part of a 10-2 spurt which included a Fadojutimi theft. Senior forward Gerard Gray Jr. (Washington, D.C.) split his free throw attempts while Fadojutimi drained a trey and Kolek banged home two straight three-pointers to make the score 59-46 Red Hawks.

Trailing by 16 points with 9:09 left following a Bush layup, the Ravens cut their deficit to single figures on the strength of an 11-2 scoring run. Fadojutimi kicked things off with a three-pointer. Pierrelus recorded four straight markers, two at the line and a baseline drive. Van Oostrum picked off a pass that Kolek collected and he threw an outlet pass from the other free throw line to an open Bradbury Jr. for an easy layup. FPU's trap forced their opponents into a travel and Kolek capped the run with an easy two, Pierce was behind 65-58 with 5:52 to go.

Raven graduate forward Jeremy Arthur (Westbury, N.Y.) made it a two-possession game, 70-65 when he faked a three-pointer on the right corner and drove uncontested to the hoop for two points. Franklin Pierce had two layup chances to bring the margin to three, but one was blocked and the other was missed. RWC outscored the Ravens 6-1 over the next couple of possessions to lead 76-66 with under two minutes left. FPU wouldn't go away however as they notched seven consecutive points including another Fadojutimi trey, Kolek's final field goal conversion, and two van Oostrum free throws to trail 76-73 with 31 seconds left. The Ravens could not generate a steal off their press and had to foul. The Red Hawks converted their free throws down the stretch as they hung on for the win.

The Ravens return to the friendly confines of The Fieldhouse for a two-game home swing, the first coming this Saturday, January 12th at 2:00 p.m. against Northeast-10 Conference opponent Le Moyne College.

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