Men's Basketball Claims 2012 Northeast-10 Conference Regular Season Championship with 73-60 Win Over Merrimack
Eric Jean-Guillaume adds 10 points for the Ravens in the victory
Eric Jean-Guillaume added 10 points in the win for the Ravens.
RINDGE, N.H. (February 21, 2012) -- The Franklin Pierce University men's basketball team is the 2012 regular season champion of the Northeast-10 Conference.
The Ravens claimed the crown on Tuesday night with a 73-60 win in the regular season finale over Merrimack in The Fieldhouse in Rindge. Franklin Pierce concluded the regular season with a 20-6 overall record and a 16-6 mark in the league, while the Warriors fell to 15-11 and 12-10 in conference play.
Franklin Pierce's win, coupled with Adelphi's 76-65 loss to Southern Connecticut State, enabled the Ravens to claim a share of the league crown and earn homecourt advantage throughout the upcoming NE-10 Tournament. The postseason will begin for the Ravens on Sunday with a home quarterfinal game at 3:30 p.m. against the winner of Friday's first round game between eighth-seeded Bentley and ninth-seeded Assumption. Franklin Pierce and Adelphi finished the regular season with identical 16-6 conference records, but the Ravens gained the homecourt advantage in the postseason due to their 61-45 win in Rindge back on Jan. 14.
The title is the first NE-10 championship in program history and the first conference crown since the 1995-96 season when the Ravens won the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) and advanced to the NCAA Division II Tournament. That season also marked the last time the program won 20 games or more in a single campaign as those Ravens produced a 23-6 record. Overall, it is the eighth conference title in program history. This season's Ravens also made the jump from last to first in the conference standings in a single year, thus becoming the first team in the expanded Northeast-10 Conference (from the original 10 teams) to turn the trick.
Before Franklin Pierce could celebrate a conference title they had to get past a surging Merrimack team on Tuesday night, which had won 11 straight in the series.
The Ravens were up to the task as three players scored in double-figures, led by freshman forward Ryen Vilmont's (Philadelphia, Pa.) 18 points, including four three-pointers. Vilmont also collected seven rebounds. Junior guard Eric Jean-Guillaume (Stamford, Conn.) netted 10 points, while sophomore forward Adrianos Vourliotakis Perdikaris (Cholargos, Athens) came off the bench to go 6-of-8 from the field and score 13 points.
Sophomore forward Ellis Cooper (Northampton, Mass.) netted nine points and pulled down a game-best 10 rebounds and senior frontcourt-mate Adedamola Abu (Mattapan, Mass.) had nine points, including making his first career three-pointer, which came on the opening basket of the game.
Franklin Pierce shot a strong 50 percent (29-of-58) from the field, including going 40 percent (8-of-20) from three-point range. The Ravens also got the scoring done inside as they owned a 40-22 advantage in the paint.
Wayne Mack tossed in a team-high 18 points for Merrimack, while Mike Clifford followed with 16.
The teams traded baskets over the opening stages of the game, but it was a late run in the first half by Franklin Pierce which staked them to control of the evening.
Following a quick 6-0 run by Merrimack, which put the Warriors up 25-24 with 6:33 to go, the Ravens blitzed their opponents over the remaining minutes of the frame. The Ravens scored seven-straight points as they concluded the half on a 17-4 run to take a 41-29 lead into halftime.
The run began with Cooper sandwiching a layup and two free throws around a Curtis Christian (Harlem, N.Y.) three-pointer which gave the Ravens a 31-25 lead.
Mack stemmed the tide for Merrimack with a jumper off the fast break, but Perdikaris and Christian responded with a layup and three-pointer, respectively, on Franklin Pierce's next two possessions. Sophomore guard Andre Blackwood (Paterson, N.J.) added a layup and Jean-Guillaume scored the final three points of the stanza to give the Ravens the 12-point cushion at the break.
Senior forward Adedamola Abu knocked down his first career three-pointer on Senior Night.
Franklin Pierce continued to push the pace in the opening minutes of the second half and pushed its lead out to 16 at 55-39 with 13:29 remaining when Perdikaris converted a three-point play on a layup and free throw.
Merrimack tried to claw its way back into the game and did get to within seven at 61-54 with 9:31 left after Mack buried a deep three-pointer. Vilmont, however, answered at the other end of the court with a triple as the Ravens led by double-digits for most of the remaining minutes of the game in sealing the win.
The Ravens concluded the regular season with three-straight victories and are now 10-1 in the friendly-confines of The Fieldhouse this season. Nine of those 10 victories have come by double-digit margins.
Franklin Pierce entered the game as the No. 1 ranked team in the NCAA East Region Poll, while the Warriors were ranked ninth. The Ravens went 7-2 during the regular season against teams currently ranked in the regional poll.
Prior to the game the senior class of Abu, guard Nigel Van Oostrum (Sheffield, England) and manager Hollis Porter were honored for their years of service to the program on Senior Night. Van Oostrum finished the game with a career-high 11 assists.
For more information on Franklin
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