Franklin Pierce Turns Back Men's Basketball, 70-66

Logan led the Skyhawks with a game-high 21 points, seven rebounds and four steals. (PHOTO BY Mike Broglio/SportsPix)

Banton leads four Ravens in double figures with 19 points

RINDGE, N.H. (November 30, 2016) – Franklin Pierce University held off Stonehill College, ranked ninth in this week's D2SIDA East Region poll, down the stretch to claim a 70-66 victory in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action at the Fieldhouse tonight.

Senior Matt Banton (Brooklyn, New York/Transit Tech) led four Franklin Pierce players in double-figures with 19 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including 3-for-4 from three-point distance, while converting all four free-throws with four rebounds as the Ravens snapped a three game skid with the win. Junior Asante Sandiford (Boston, Massachusetts/New Mission) posted a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 14 rebounds (six offensive), with two assists and a blocked shot, converting 6-of-13 field goals, including 2-for-4 from beyond the arc. Junior Jordan Lackey (South Plainfield, New Jersey/Piscataway Tech) contributed 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting off the bench, with four rebounds and two steals, while senior Donte Gittens (Hartford, Connecticut/The Master's School) chipped in ten points, four boards, three assists, three steals and a block.

Senior Ryan Logan (Fredericktown, Ohio/Fredericktown) and junior Isaiah Bess (LaGrange, Maine/Hampden Academy) were the lone Stonehill players in double-figures, combining for 39 points. Logan scored a game-high 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 3-for-3 from long distance, converting both free-throw attempts to go with a team-high seven rebounds, two assists and four steals. Bess scored 11 of his 18 in the first half, shooting 4-of-8 from the floor and converting 9-of-10 free-throws to go with five rebounds, four assists and a block.

Freshman Brandon Twitty (Randolph, Massachusetts/Catholic Memorial) contributed seven points, while classmate Will Moreton (Minneapolis, Minnesota/Edina) chipped in six points on 2-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc, with two rebounds and two steals.

Stonehill finished shooting 42.3-percent from the field (22-for-52), including 9-for-18 (50%) from long range, converting 13-of-16 (81.3%) of its free-throws. While Logan and Bess were a combined 12-for-22 (54.6%) from the floor, including 4-for-5 (80%) from beyond the arc, the remainder of the Skyhawks shot just 10-for-30 (33.3%), including 5-for-13 (38.5%) from deep.

Bess added 18 points, five rebounds and four assists. (PHOTO BY Mike Broglio/SportsPix)

Franklin Pierce shot 39.3-percent from the field (24-for-61), including 44.4% (12-27) in the first half, connecting at 37.5% (6-16) from three, and converting 16-of-20 (80%) free-throws. The Ravens held a 40-31 rebounding margin, posting a 14-5 advantage in second chance points, while outscoring Stonehill 19-11 in points off turnovers.

Franklin Pierce held a five point lead at halftime (38-33), finishing the first half with a 6-2 spurt capped by a Banton three for a seven point cushion (38-31) with 1:18 remaining before Logan scored the final basket of the half for Stonehill.

Stonehill pulled even (40-40) a minute and a half into the second after a Bess layup and three-pointer from senior Jim Walsh (Manasquan, New Jersey/Manasquan), but Franklin Pierce scored five straight of its own, capped by a Banton jumper to reclaim its five point lead (47-42) four minutes into the half. The Ravens extended the run to 14-4 to open a game-high ten point lead (54-44) after a triple by senior Marvilio Berroa (Bronx, New York/Wings Academy) with 11:47 to play.

Stonehill followed that up with seven straight points to pull back within three (54-51) when Bess made one of two free-throws with 7:38 remaining, but Sandiford answered with a three-pointer and Franklin Pierce's regained its seven point lead (60-53) with a Banton three with 5:51 left.

Stonehill drew within a point (62-61) with two Bess free-throws with 3:35 to play and Franklin Pierce pushed the lead back to three on a Sandiford layup with 1:21 on the clock.  The Skyhawks had two possessions to pull closer, before Walsh missed a tying three with 16-seconds left and Bess turned the ball over after collecting the offensive rebound. Banton made two free-throws to extend the Ravens lead to five (68-63) with nine seconds remaining, but Logan drilled a three to close the gap to two with four seconds to go. However, Banton closed the game out with two free-throws from there for the final four point margin.

Stonehill (3-4, 1-3 NE-10) returns to action on Saturday at Saint Michael's College at 3:30 p.m. The Skyhawks return home next Wednesday, December 7, to host Southern New Hampshire University at 7:30 p.m. Franklin Pierce (3-4, 2-2 NE-10) hosts Assumption College on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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