RINDGE, N.H. (January 18, 2017) – Matt Banton (Brooklyn, N.Y.) scored a game-high 20 points as the Franklin Pierce University men's basketball team fell to the University of New Haven 61-60 on Wednesday evening during Northeast-10 Conference action in the Fieldhouse. With the win, the Chargers improve to 10-7, 5-6 NE10 and the loss, the Ravens second in a row drops them to 10-7 overall and 7-4 in league play.
Banton was 8-of-17 (47.1%) from the floor and snagged two rebounds in the defeat. Junior forward Asante Sandiford (Boston, Mass.) added eight points, 11 boards two assists and a block. In his first career start Oladoyin Fadojutimi (Temple Hills, Md.) chipped in eight points, five caroms, two assists, a block and a steal. Donte Gittens (Hartford, Conn.) poured in five points to go along with a game-best six assists, and the team captain corralled six rebounds.
Four of five Charger starters scored in double-figures and were led by Roy Kane Jr.'s 17 markers. Michael Bourke tallied 14 points and Danny Upchurch racked up a line of 13 points, six assists and five boards. Reigning Spalding NE10 Rookie of the Week Kessly Felizor corralled a game-high 13 rebounds.
New Haven owned the paint as they scored 26 points in the low post compared to the hosts 18, however FPU's bench players outscored the Chargers by a 13-to-2 margin.
Trailing by one with a few seconds left, the Ravens drew up a play for Banton with the game on the line, Banton originally missed the three-ball, but the rock was tipped around back to Banton who shot another attempt from the wing and it swished through the net, however a timeout was called on the court negating the game-winner. With 1.8 on the clock, Banton received the ball, drove into the right wing and lofted another shot into the air, but it clanked off the front rim and fell short giving the Chargers the one point win.
Franklin Pierce scored the first points of the game when Mike McDevitt (Cumberland, Maine) knocked down a turnaround jumper from the baseline that kissed the glass 1:08 into the contest. Following McDevitt's make, the guests went on a 14-0 run as Kane Jr. started the binge by hitting a trey from the corner and Bourke's three that he converted five feet behind the line from the top of the point put the Chargers ahead 14-2.
FPU stopped play with a 30 second timeout and on their next possession Fadojutimi drained a three-ball from the corner to stop the bleeding. At the 13:01 mark, Gittens took the rock from the high post and drove through the New Haven defensive unit for the hoop and harm. Gitten's old fashioned three-point play brought their deficit to eight at 16-8.
The Chargers' lead grew to a game-high 16 points, 25-9 when Kane Jr. made his third and final three pointer of the contest. FPU cut their deficit to eight, two times over the final 8:58 as Marvillo Berroa (Bronx, N.Y.) poked the ball away to Fadojutimi who then found Gittens in transition for a two handed slam. A few minutes later, the Charger lead fell to eight again as Dustin Cole (Standish, Maine) dished a dime to Berroa for an easy two. After one half FPU trailed by a 40-29 score.
The Ravens started the second stanza with a mini 8-2 scoring run thanks to a deep three at the top of the point by Banton, a McDevitt lay-in, a Sandiford driving, spinning reverse layup and a Banton layup from Sandiford. Four in a row by the guests pushed their lead back to eight and then a two minute scoring drought ensued.
Trailing by six, FPU embarked on a 16-5 run using three-pointers by Ben Mead (Ipswich, Suffolk (England)), two from Banton and a catch and shoot corner three by Berroa to give FPU their first lead since the opening bucket of the contest. Banton then ended the run by scoring a transition jumper that rolled kindly off the back rim and in to put Pierce ahead 54-51 with 7:30 to go.
New Haven answered with four straight markers to take a one point, 55-54 lead until McDevitt kept the possession alive for the Ravens and tipped the rock out to Sandiford who buried a shot from long range at the high post to put the Ravens ahead 57-55 with 5:47 remaining.
The Ravens lead increased to three as Cole split a pair of free throws. Mihailo Vasic scored four points in a row, two by layup and two by a trip to the charity stripe to put the guests up by one, 59-58. 10 seconds after the Vasic free throws, McDevitt made two freebies which gave FPU a one point lead 60-59.
With 1:11 to go Upchurch scored the final points of the game as he floated the rock home to put his squad in front 61-60. Both teams wouldn't score as Banton's two attempted game winners fell short as the Chargers left Rindge with a victory.
The Ravens return to the hardwood on Saturday when they travel to NE10 opponent Southern Connecticut State for a 3:30 p.m. contest.
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).