RINDGE, N.H. – Franklin Pierce University overcame an 11 point second half deficit to down Southern New Hampshire University 76-75 in Northeast-10 men's basketball action Tuesday night at the Fieldhouse. The Ravens upped their record to 18-4 and 13-4 in the NE-10, while the Penmen are now 11-10 and 8-9 in the league.
Ellis Cooper led Franklin Pierce with 25 points and 12 rebounds on 9-14 shooting, while Paul Becklens finished 6-7 from the floor and totaled 16 points. Ant Lessane knocked down a trio of three-pointers and tallied 11 points, while Donte Gittens added 10 points.
Southern New Hampshire was led by Rodney Sanders (Linden, N.J.), who finished with 20 points on 9-16 shooting. Mike Stys (Hooksett, N.H.) and Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.) each totaled 14 points, with Stys going 5-11 from the floor and Walters 12-14 at the free throw line. CJ Marriro (Boston, Mass.) added nine points, nine rebounds and five assists.
SNHU led 61-50 following a conventional three-point play by Sanders just past the midway point of the second half, but an 11-1 FPU run made it a one-point game, 62-61, with 5:41 remaining. The Ravens took the lead with 1:30 left when Ryen Vilmont was fouled on a shot attempt as the shot clock expired, and sank both free throws to make it 71-70. After an empty Penmen trip, Cooper sank a pair of free throws with 31 seconds left to make it 73-70.
Stys drove in for a layup on the next SNHU possession, but was short, and Vilmont was fouled, making 1-of-2. After an Elijah Bonsignore (Felton, Del.) layup, Vilmont was fouled and made two to seal the win with four seconds left at 76-72. Bonsignore hit a three at the buzzer to account for the final.
The game was tied 33-33 at halftime, but the Penmen used a 13-4 run to open up its 61-50 advantage.
The first half saw 10 ties and eight lead changes, but Franklin Pierce was able to eke out a 31-25 lead with just under three minutes remaining in the opening stanza. The Penmen closed the half on a 8-2 run and entered the locker room tied at 33.
Franklin Pierce shot 44.4% for the game and went 23-26 at the free throw line, while the Penmen shot 43.9% for the contest and 22-29 at the charity stripe. SNHU matched a season-low with three three-pointers, going 3-17 behind the arc, while the Ravens were 5-20 from long range. Southern New Hampshire held a 36-32 rebounding advantage.
Southern New Hampshire returns to action Saturday, February 15, when it entertains Stonehill College in a 4:00 tilt at the SNHU Fieldhouse that can be seen live on WBIN-TV.
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