Men’s Basketball Grinds Out 84-79 Victory Over Franklin Pierce

BOX SCORE
RAPID REACTION WITH HEAD COACH STAN SPIROU

When and Where: November 22, 2016 – Manchester, N.H. (SNHU Fieldhouse)
Score:
Southern New Hampshire University 84, Franklin Pierce University 79
Records:
SNHU 3-0 (2-0 NE-10), FPU 2-3 (1-2 NE-10)

Redshirt-junior Chris Walters (Stamford, Conn.) and junior Dimitri Floras (Merrimack, N.H.) each scored 18 points to lead five scorers in double figures and help the Southern New Hampshire University men's basketball team pull out an 84-79 victory against in-state foe Franklin Pierce University on Tuesday evening at the SNHU Fieldhouse.

Walters shot 6-for-10 from the floor, including 2-for-3 from beyond the arc, and was 4-for-7 at the line, while pulling down 11 rebounds and blocking a pair of shots for his second double-double of the season. Floras was 5 of 10 from the field, 3 of 6 from deep and 5 of 6 from the stripe. Senior Adrian Oliveira (Pawtucket, R.I.) netted a career-high 16 points (5-8 FG, 2-4 3-FG, 4-4 FT) and handed out three assists, while senior Devin Gilligan (Amherst, N.H.) posted 14 points (6-14 FG, 2-4 3-FG), eight rebounds and four helpers. Fellow senior Jerome Harris (Hartford, Conn.) added 11 points (4-9 FG, 2-6 3-FG, 1-2 FT), five boards and two steals.

Matt Banton pumped in a game-high 27 points for the Ravens.

In a game that featured 19 ties and 11 lead changes, Franklin Pierce ripped off a 12-3 run – with six points from Banton and four from Asante Sandiford – to turn a two-point deficit into a game-high 70-63 lead with 8:06 remaining.

Gilligan stopped the bleeding with a layup and then the Penmen came out of the under-8 media timeout and extended the run to 9-0 as four different scorers contributed to put Southern New Hampshire back in front, 72-70, with 5:12 to go.

The Ravens would tie the game three more times, but each was answered by the Penmen, including a final time when Harris spun in a layup to make it 81-79 with 1:45 to play. Franklin Pierce had a chance to tie it again with 33 seconds left as Mike McDevitt elevated for a layup, but Walters swatted the shot, pinning it against the glass before grabbing the rebound and getting the ball to Oliveira, who was fouled and knocked down both attempts to make it a two-possession game with 25 ticks on the clock. Another FPU miss and a Harris free throw ended it.

Trailing, 9-8, early on, a 3-pointer from Walters, followed by two trifectas from Floras, made up a 9-4 run that gave Southern New Hampshire a 17-13 lead 5:25 into the contest. A 5-0 spurt from Franklin Pierce put it back in front, 21-19, before a three-point play from sophomore Jon Martin (Manchester,  N.H.) handed SNHU back the lead at 22-21 with 10:49 to go before the break.

Six lead changes and six ties then ensued before Harris gave the Penmen a 43-40 lead on a triple with 15 seconds left. Banton answered, however, sending it to the half tied at 43 as he buried a 3 with five seconds on the clock.

Still tied just under four minutes into the second stanza, Southern New Hampshire used an 11-3 run – with four points each from Walters and Oliveira – to grab a game-high eight-point lead at 58-50 when Floras drained a triple with 13:45 remaining. The Ravens responded by ripping off eight straight to knot the game with 11:31 to play. Walters sank a pair of free throws to put the Penmen on top, 60-58, midway through the frame before Franklin Pierce made its big run to grab its largest lead of the night.

Notes:
-The Penmen begin the season 3-0 for the first time since 2012-13.
-The double-double was the 14th of Walters' career.
-Southern New Hampshire outshot Franklin Pierce, 46.7 percent (28-60) to 41.1 percent (30-73), including 42.3 percent (11-26) to 39.1 percent (9-22) from beyond the arc. The Penmen shot 52 percent (13-25) from the field in the second half.
-SNHU also made more free throws than Franklin Pierce attempted, outshooting the Ravens at the line, 77.3 percent (17-22) to 71.4 percent (10-14).
-The Ravens outrebounded the Penmen, 41-38, including 14-7 on the offensive end for a 12-6 advantage in second chance points, won the paint (34-28) and featured a better assist-to-turnover ratio (10/10-10/12).

Up Next:
The Penmen return to action Sunday, Nov. 27 (1 p.m.) when they play host to Chestnut Hill College at the Fieldhouse in non-conference action that will be broadcast live on WGIR 610-AM.

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