RINDGE, N.H. (February 23, 2016) -- Junior guard Donte Gittens (Hartford, Conn.) poured in 22 points to help push the Franklin Pierce University men's basketball team to victory over Assumption on Tuesday night in the Fieldhouse. Junior guard Matt Banton (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added a trio of three-pointers as part of a 13-point night, as the Ravens walked away with a 78-66 win over the Greyhounds.
With the win, Franklin Pierce advances to 15-11 (12-9 Northeast-10) to wrap up the regular season, while Assumption falls to 6-20 (2-18 Northeast-10) to finish its campaign. Franklin Pierce has qualified for the Northeast-10 Championship and will travel to Le Moyne on Friday, Feb. 26 for the first round. Game time is still to be determined at Ted Grant Court in Syracuse, N.Y.
Senior guard Jacob Jacquo (New Britain, Conn.) dunked on an alley-oop feed from sophomore forward Asante Sandiford (Boston, Mass.) on the game's first possession to put Franklin Pierce ahead, 2-0. The dunk sparked a rally for the team, as the first 12 points of the game would go to the Ravens. Gittens would follow Jacquo and dunk only seconds after draining a three-pointer. Sandiford would follow suit with a three-pointer of his own to help Franklin Pierce build the 12-0 lead and force Assumption's second timeout of the first four minutes.
The Greyhounds would break their scoreless streak after sophomore guard Mat Sulda made a layup to put his team on the scoreboard. Senior guard Julian Aiken would follow suit with a layup of his own to help close the gap to only eight points (12-4). Gittens would be fouled and sent to the line where he would make both shots to put the Ravens ahead, 14-4. A three-point jumper made by Assumption freshman guard Justin Tuckson gave the Greyhounds a chance to cut Franklin Pierce's lead to only seven points. However, a three-point jumper made by Jacquo answered to put the Ravens ahead by 10, and started a series of threes for the Ravens.
Gittens would make another three-point jumper following Jacquo's. Banton would drain a three-point jumper to follow Gittens'. Assumption followed Franklin Pierce, and Aiken made a three-point jumper of his own to make the score 23-10. Franklin Pierce would go up by another two points with a layup made by senior guard Tyler Iacuone (Mahopac, N.Y.). The layup would start a 14-9 run for the Ravens to put them ahead 39-19 with 4:59 left in the half. After going scoreless for almost a minute, Banton drained another three to put Franklin Pierce ahead 42-19.
Moments later, Tuckson committed a foul on sophomore center Mike McDevitt (Cumberland, R.I.), which sent the latter to the line, where he went one-for-two to put the Ravens ahead by 24 points. After another pair of free throws was made by junior forward Jordan Lackey (South Plainfield, N.J.), and another dunk by Gittens, Aiken would strike for the Greyhounds with a three-point jumper. Sulda would follow him with another three-pointer for Assumption to make the score 46-25. Senior forward Tim Kasper would come in for the Greyhounds close to the end of the half and make a layup to lower the deficit further. In the closing minute of the half, Franklin Pierce sophomore center Lolami Charles (Edgewood, Md.) would make the final points for Franklin Pierce and go two-for-four at the free-throw line to give Franklin Pierce a halftime lead of 48-27.
Assumption started the second half with Aiken making a layup to make the score 48-29. Both teams went scoreless for the next few minutes until Aiken was fouled and sent to the line where he went one-for-two in his shots. Gittens answered Aiken's free throw with his third dunk of the night, to put the Ravens ahead, 50-30. With 13:20 left in the half, a foul by Banton sent Aiken to the line where he made one of his two free throw to close the gap to only 17 points. Tuckson and senior guard Darren Chew would score a combined five points to cut the Ravens' lead to just 12 with 12:17 left in the game.
After a 30-second timeout called by Franklin Pierce, Banton came out of the huddle and drained another three-point jumper to make the score 62-47. The Greyhounds fought back against the Ravens by going on a 13-6 run to make the score 68-60 with 5:38 left in the game. Moments later, Lackey scored a layup for the Ravens to stop the run and put Franklin Peirce back up by 10 points. Jacquo followed suit moments later, scoring on a jumper to make the score 72-60 with 4:27 left in the game. Tuckson answered those four points by making a three-pointer to cut the lead to nine points (72-63). After a timeout by Assumption, McDevitt came out and made a layup for the Ravens to put the team up by 11. Tuckson was sent to the line moments later, where he went one-for-two in his free throws to make the score 74-64. Lackey made another layup for Franklin Pierce which put his squad ahead by 12 with 2:11 left in the game.
After one scoreless minute for both teams, Aiken fouled Gittens, who went one-for-two at the line to put the Ravens ahead by 13 with one minute remaining in the game. With 29 seconds left to play, Gittens was fouled again, this time by Chew, and he went one-for-two at the line again, to put Franklin Pierce ahead by 14 points. The last shot of the game went to sophomore guard Kamali Bey, who scored a layup for the Greyhounds to make the final score 78-66.
Senior forward Tre Owens finished with a double-double for the night with 13 points and 10 rebounds to lead the way for the Greyhounds. His two teammates, Tuckson and Aiken finished with 18 and 17 points for the night, respectively.
Gittens had 22 points for the night to lead the Ravens, while Banton finished with a trio of three-pointers as part of a 13-point outing. Lackey also finished in double digits, with 15 points for the Ravens, while Iacuone grabbed 10 rebounds.
For more information on Franklin Pierce Athletics, please visit the official website of Franklin Pierce Athletics (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu). Also be sure to follow the Ravens through the Department of Athletics' official Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/FranklinPierceRavens), its YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/franklinpiercesports) and its Twitter feed (http://twitter.com/FPUathletics). Fans wishing to purchase Franklin Pierce men's basketball apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store).