RINDGE, N.H. (December 12, 2015) – The Franklin Pierce University Men's Basketball team knocked down 17 total shots from behind the three-point arc, led by juniors Matt Banton (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Donte Gittens (Hartford, Conn.) as the Ravens rode that tune to a 86-76 victory over the Merrimack College Warriors at the Fieldhouse on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, the Ravens improve to 5-3 overall (4-2 Northeast-10) while Merrimack falls under .500 at 5-6 (1-5 Northeast-10).
Banton lit up the scoreboard with six three-pointers himself, five of which came in the first half alone. Gittens put on a display on the floor offensively, leading all players in scoring with 24 points and knocking down both of his three-point attempts.
Merrimack grabbed the early lead putting in the first basket of the game before Gittens came down the floor and put home a dunk to tie the game at 2-2 before junior Marvilio Berroa (Bronx, N.Y.) drained a three to take a lead that Franklin Pierce wouldn't surrender for the duration of the game.
Although the Warriors stuck in through a majority of the first half, the Ravens took off at the nine minute mark, going on an 11-2 run for the next 3:15 that was started and finished by Banton triples, giving Franklin Pierce a 35-22 lead with 5:47 to play.
Before the halftime buzzer, the Ravens would add one more solid run to take their largest lead of the night at 17 points, putting up a 10-2 over the last 2:33 of the half run taking a 49-32 into the locker room.
The start of the second half brought some shaky play from the Ravens, as they saw their lead dwindle back to single digits with 15:26 remaining, a nine point lead after JT Strickland knocked down a three-pointer.
Despite Merrimack's efforts to climb their way back into contention, the Ravens once again extended out a lead after yet another 10-2 run after junior Tyler Iacuone (Mahopac, N.Y.) dialed up from distance, giving Franklin Pierce 76-59 lead with 6:39 to go. The Ravens leaned on Gittens down the stretch, as he continuously went to the line and helped shut the door, giving Franklin Pierce the 86-76 win.
Gittens helped himself to the 24 points going 10-for-12 from the free throw line, collecting eight rebounds and five assists as well. Banton ended his day with 20 points, while sophomore Asante Sandiford (Boston, Mass.) notched 10 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore Mike McDevitt (Cumberland, Maine) also pumped in 10 points, while fellow classmate Dustin Cole (Standish, Maine) tossed around a team-high seven assists.
For the Warriors, Strickland collected 23 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field with nine assists. James Kennedy put together a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Troy Hammel put up 17 points while Anthony Barry put home 16 points and grabbing seven rebounds, all offensive.
Merrimack topped the Ravens in points in the paint, points off turnovers, and second chance points. The biggest difference came with both points in the paint (34 to 18) and second chance points (22 to nine), each outscoring the Ravens by 13.
Franklin Pierce made their night from the strong shooting, collecting 48.3 percent from the floor with a 51.5 percent from behind the arc, while Merrimack only went 37.5 percent from the floor, and only 19.0 percent from distance.
The Ravens return to the floor Thursday, December 17 when they travel to Long Island to take on LIU Post. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
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 basketball apparel can do so at the Department of Athletics' online store (http://athletics.franklinpierce.edu/store).