Franklin Pierce Edges Stonehill, 76-73

Junior Jack Cole led the Skyhawks with 16 points, six rebounds and two blocked shots. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Cooper lifts Ravens to victory with 20 points, including two clinching free-throws 

EASTON, Mass. (February 19, 2014) – Franklin Pierce University held off Stonehill College down the stretch to claim a 76-73 victory in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action at Merkert Gymnasium tonight.

Senior Ellis Cooper (Northampton, Mass./Northampton) led Franklin Pierce with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and converting 4-of-7 free-throws, including a pair with 6.3-seconds to play to seal the victory. He also added seven rebounds, two assists, a blocked shot and steal on the night. Junior Ryen Vilmont (Philadelphia, Pa./Hamden South) contributed 16 points, four rebounds, five assists and two blocks, while senior Ant Lessane (Brooklyn, N.Y./Pacific) posted 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including 2-for-3 from three-point range, in 21 minutes off the bench.

Junior Jack Cole (New Providence, N.J./New Providence) led Stonehill with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including a three-pointer, six rebounds and two blocked shots in 23 minutes before fouling out. Freshman Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) notched his third double-double of the season with 11 points and a game-high ten rebounds with two assists and two steals, while sophomore Pierce Cumpstone (Bainbridge Township, Ohio/Kenston) added ten points on 5-of-8 shooting off the bench with five rebounds, three assists and three steal. Sophomore Carter Smith (Columbus, Ohio/Upper Arlington) contributed ten points and nine assists, while classmate Adam Bramanti (Middleton, Mass./Masconomet Regional) buried 3-of-7 three-pointers for nine points.

Franklin Pierce rode 54.5-percent (30-for-55) shooting from the field to victory, connecting on 10-of-26 (38.5%) three-pointers. The Ravens held a 32-30 rebounding edge, but was outscored 11-4 in second chance points and also turned the ball over 18 times. Stonehill finished shooting 46.8-percent (29-for-62) from the field, including 55.6% (15-for-27) in the second half, converting 6-of-19 (31.6%) three-pointers and 9-of-11 (81.8%) free-throws for the night.

Freshman Ryan Logan posted his third double-double of the season with 11 points and a game-high ten rebounds. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Franklin Pierce emerged from a contest that featured 13 ties and six lead changes, holding off a Stonehill squad that fought back from a ten point deficit early in the second half. Cooper sealed the win with a pair of free-throws with 6.3-seconds left after Bramanti missed on a drive through the lane at the other end to cut the lead to one. Junior Paul Becklens (Boston, Mass./Bridgton Academy) drilled a three-pointer with 1:30 remaining that broke the final deadlock of the night (72-69). Logan drained was fouled and drained two free-throws at the other end for Stonehill with 1:08 left. Both teams turned the ball over on their next possession and then Vilmont was fouled with 17-seconds to go and made both attempts to push the Franklin Pierce lead back to three (74-71).

Franklin Pierce scored nine of the last 12 points of the first half to take a seven point lead (39-32) into halftime with Cooper scoring the final basket of the frame with 1:43 remaining. Lessane scored four points during that stretch, while Vilmont drained a three-pointer. The Ravens pushed their lead to a game-high ten points (46-38) after a layup by senior Adrianos Vourliotakis Perdikaris (Athens, Greece) two minutes into the second half.

Stonehill quickly drew back within five (46-41) less than a minute later following a Smith jumper and Bramanti three. Cole pulled Stonehill within three (50-47) with 12:09 remaining, but Lessane drilled a three to answer at the other end. The Ravens reclaimed a seven point cushion (56-49) with a Becklens triple midway through the half, but the Skyhawks reeled off nine straight points to take its first lead of the half (58-56) following a layup by sophomore Josh Heyliger (Queens, N.Y./The Hill School) with 7:04 to play.

Franklin Pierce regained the lead with baskets from Cooper and Vilmont and the teams traded baskets until the Ravens opened a five point advantage with a Vilmont three with 2:37 remaining. Bramanti answered with a three ball on the other side before Smith forced the final deadlock of the night (69-69) with 1:54 to play.

Stonehill (7-17, 4-15 NE-10) is back in action on Saturday when it visits rival Bentley University for an NE-10 clash at 3:30 p.m. The Skyhawks return to Merkert Gym next Tuesday, February 25, when it closes out the season with a Senior Night matchup with Saint Anselm College at 7:30 p.m.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter and Facebook. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks mobile app on iTunes and the Android Market.

Stonehill Stuns Bentley, 97-83
February 22, 2014 Stonehill Stuns Bentley, 97-83