Men's Basketball Moves into First Place in the NE-10 with 69-56 Victory Over SNHU
Adedamola Abu chips in with seven points and six rebounds for the Ravens
RINDGE, N.H. (February 8, 2012) -- The Franklin Pierce University men's basketball team moved into a tie for first place in the Northeast-10 Conference on Wednesday night following its 69-56 win over Southern New Hampshire at The Fieldhouse in Rindge. The Ravens claimed their fourth-straight victory and seventh in the last eight games to move to 17-5 overall and 13-5 in the NE-10, while the Penmen dipped to 11-12 and 7-11 in league play.
Franklin Pierce's win, coupled with first-place Adelphi's 65-61 setback to Saint Rose, enabled the Ravens to move into a two-way tie for the top spot with the Panthers. The Ravens, would however, hold the tiebreaker over Adelphi for potential homecourt advantage in the upcoming NE-10 tournament due to their 61-45 win in Rindge back on Jan. 14.
Also of note from Wednesday night's game was the fact that Franklin Pierce set a new program record for the most wins in a single season since joining the NE-10 prior to the 2000-01 campaign. This year's 17 victories tops the old mark of 16, which was set during that debut season of 2000-01.
The victory was sparked by junior guard Eric Jean-Guillaume's (Stamford, Conn.) game-high 27 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor and impressive 4-of-5 effort from three-point range. The Ravens also got valuable offensive contributions from senior forward Adedamola Abu (Mattapan, Mass.) and sophomore forward Adrianos Vourliotakis Perdikaris (Cholargos, Athens), as both dropped in seven points. Abu also pulled down six rebounds.
B.J. Cardarelli led SNHU with 18 points, while Tory Stapleton came off the bench to net 13.
Both teams shot well from the floor as SNHU went for a 51 percent clip (22-of-43), while the Ravens went at a 50-percent mark (26-of-52). Franklin Pierce held a 28-23 advantage on the boards.
The Penmen surprised everyone with five quick points to open the game, but the Ravens countered by scoring five-straight points and 21 of the next 25 to open up a 21-9 lead with 10:05 left until halftime.
Jean-Guillaume sparked the surge with a three and scored seven points, while Perdikaris netted five points. Blackwood bombed in a deep three to aid the rally and freshman forward Ryen Vilmont (Philadelphia, Pa.) capped it with a driving layup.
Franklin Pierce's lead continued to hover around the 9-to-13 point range for the next several minutes. Abu laid in a basket and Van Oostrum made 1-of-2 free throws on the Ravens next possession to stake them to a 29-16 advantage with 5:32 to go until halftime.
The Penmen tried to respond and did cut it to seven at 32-25 with 2:15 left following a dunk by Elijah Bonsignore. However, the Ravens countered and closed out the period by scoring the final five points, including getting a layup and two free throws from Jean-Guillaume, to take a 37-25 lead into the locker room.
Jean-Guillaume pumped in 14 points during the opening 20 minutes, while Franklin Pierce's reserves did an outstanding job offensively as they outscored SNHU's by a 15-4 margin.
SNHU tried to close the gap over the opening minutes of the second half, but the Ravens wouldn't allow it. They stretched their lead out to 15 on multiple occasions, including at 49-34 with 14:01 left when sophomore guard Curtis Christian (Harlem, N.Y.) drove the lane for an easy basket.
After Christian's basket, Franklin Pierce went cold shooting the basketball, which allowed the Penmen to finally make a run to get back into the game. Over the next several minutes Southern New Hampshire was able to claw away at the deficit and used an 8-0 run to pull within five at 54-49 with 5:26 remaining. Stapleton capped the run with back-to-back layups.
The Ravens called a timeout and after the break went right back to work getting high-percentage shots. They were successful in that regard as Cooper drove hard for a layup, Jean-Guillaume followed two possessions later with a layup of his own and Van Oostrum hit a layup on the next series to push Franklin Pierce's lead out 11 at 60-49 with 3:48 left.
SNHU, though, didn't fold and eventually trimmed its deficit to six at 60-54 with 2:49 left when Cardarelli drained a trey from the right wing.
But that was as close as the Penmen would get and Jean-Guillaume made sure of it by converting a pair of free throws at the 2:30 mark and then raining in another triple with :57 left to give the Ravens a 65-54 edge. Christian buried a three in the closing seconds to cap the scoring and seal the win for Franklin Pierce.
The victory enabled Franklin Pierce to sweep the two-game regular season series from the Penmen. The Ravens pulled off the first half of the trick back on Nov. 30 in Manchester as they turned an early double-digit, first-half deficit into a 72-67 victory.
Franklin Pierce returns to action Saturday when the Ravens travel to Manchester to face Saint Anselm at 3:30 p.m.
For more information on Franklin Pierce men's basketball, please visit the team's page at athletics.franklinpierce.edu(.) To follow the program even further, please visit Franklin Pierce Athletics on YouTube (www.youtube.com/FranklinPierceSports), Twitter (www.twitter.com/FPUathletics) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceAthletics).