RINDGE, N.H. – In front of a full house at the Franklin Pierce Fieldhouse, the Saint Anselm College men's basketball team was toppled by the host Ravens, 93-88.
The Hawks fall to 16-5 overall on the season, dropping only their fourth Northeast-10 Conference tilt of the year. Franklin Pierce improves to 11-9 overall and to 6-9 against league opponents. The Ravens have won eight-straight games over the Hawks at home in Rindge.
Senior Taylor Fortin scored 25 points for the Hawks. Junior Tim Guers registered 24 points for Saint Anselm, hauling in seven rebounds and handing out a team-best five assists. Freshman Chris Paul had a well-rounded evening, tallying 12 points and picking up nine rebounds. Junior Cody Ball scored 15 points and freshman Gustav Suhr-Jessen rounded out the double-digit scorers with 10 of his own.
After a dismal shooting performance as a team in the first half, the Hawks rallied by shooting just over 58% (17-for-29) in the second stanza and needed some late-game heroics to close the deficit. Down by 10 points in the game's final 1:53, the Hawks stunned the home crowd by cut the score to three, 89-86, following a Fortin three-point basket. Forced to foul, the Ravens made four-straight free throws to secure the victory and limited the Hawks to only two shots for the remainder of regulation time.
With the score tied at 11 only 6:47 into the contest, Franklin Pierce's Sam van Oostrum seemingly had an answer for every Hawks made basket as he converted three-consecutive treys to catapult his team into the lead, 22-16. At one point, the Hawks trailed by nine points with under 10 minutes to go in the first half.
Saint Anselm used an 11-2 scoring run to knot the score at 27 with 5:01 left in the first as Fortin made his first shot off the bench, a three-point basket, to draw his team even. The Ravens immediately countered with six-straight points of their own, highlighted by a thunderous Devonte McCall dunk.
The Hawks rattled the Ravens cage down the stretch, scoring five points in only 19 seconds via a Ball three and a Fortin fast-break layup. Down by a 35-33 score with 1:25 left in the first half, Saint Anselm yielded a three-pointer on the Ravens very next play and the hosts held on for the very last shot of the stanza, making a layup with six seconds left.
The Franklin Pierce reserves scored 24 of their team's 40 points at the half – the squad collectively shot 50% (17-for-34) and limited the Hawks to only 32.4% shooting from the floor. The Hawks also trailed despite Franklin Pierce committing 11 of the game's 15 fouls.
Saint Anselm opened the second half on a 9-2 run and a Fortin three-point play knotted the score at 42 with 17:12 left in regulation time. Fortin later gave his team a two point lead with a long-range jumper only minutes later, creating a 47-45 lead with 15:43 to go.
In the face of its first deficit since the first half, Franklin Pierce responded shortly thereafter with five-straight made shots from beyond the arc to create a 10-point lead with 13:50 left in regulation time. Nine-straight points by Guers cut the Franklin Pierce lead to two points, 63-61, near the midpoint of the second half.
Three-straight Mike McDevitt baskets put the game out of reach down the stretch in the second half – the Hawks missed three-straight shots during that Ravens scoring run and trailed by a 71-63 score with 7:19 to go.
Staring a nine-point deficit in the face with 4:34 left, the Hawks rattled off six-straight points to cut the score to 79-76 with 3:26 left. Franklin Pierce made its first shot following its timeout and the Hawks momentum was further slowed by a traveling call only seconds later. The Ravens converted a three-point play on the next possession as the lead grew to 10 points before the attempted comeback in the waning minute-plus.
Six different Ravens reached double-digit point scoring totals, including Asante Sandiford and his 18 points and nine rebounds. Franklin Pierce finished the game by shooting 34-for-68 (50%) and made 12 of its 26 three-point attempts.