ANDERSON, Ind. – Playing in their first road conference game of the year, Wednesday (Dec. 6) night served as a coming-of-age party for the Franklin College men's basketball team.
The Grizzlies (2-5, 1-1 HCAC) faced a stiff test against an experienced Anderson (4-2, 1-1 HCAC) team inside the O.C. Lewis Gymnasium. Regulation wasn't enough time to decide a winner between the two sides, so the Grizzlies headed to overtime for the first time this year. In the extra session, the Grizzlies got the stops they needed and knocked down the shots they had to have to close out a 100-98 win over the Ravens.
Freshman Danny Goggans recorded his first career double-double on Wednesday night, leading the Grizzlies and setting new career highs with 24 points and 15 rebounds. Kale Morris (18 pts), Jordan Anderson (14 pts), John Beineke (13 pts) and Sam Gutierrez (13) joined him in double figures, as the Grizzlies relied on their depth to overcome foul trouble and hold on for the win.
"The biggest thing for us tonight was our depth," Head coach Kerry Prather said after the game. "On a night like this where defense wins, we relied on that depth and our bench gave us really good minutes. We played composed for a young team and that comes from seeing more repetitions. We won a close game and that's huge for our confidence. We got stops and we made plays in overtime and that's the sign of a mature team."
Franklin took their first lead of the night 48 seconds into the game and held on to it with an iron grip throughout the first half. Franklin's lead would expand to double figures for the first time at 26-15 after a seven-minute stretch that saw the Grizzlies out-score the Ravens 15-6.
The Ravens' offense would begin to attack, and got back into the game by shooting 24-for-28 at the line in the opening half. Despite holding the hosts to just 6-for-25 from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, Franklin took a 40-38 lead into the locker room at the break.
Anderson opened the second half with a 10-2 run to take their largest lead of the night at 48-42. The Ravens would hold onto the lead until the 3:51 mark, when Morris' fourth three-pointer of the night vaulted the Grizzlies to a 78-77 lead. Franklin would hold the lead until the final minute, when Anderson connected on consecutive threes late in regulation to tie the game at 85 and send it to extra time.
Despite giving up the late lead, the Grizzlies refused to crumble and re-gained the lead on the first possession of the extra session on a Goggans jumper. With the score tied at 96 in the final minute, the Grizzlies made big plays when they needed to seal the win.
Franklin went 4-for-5 from the line in the final minute while stifling the Anderson offense, holding the Ravens to 1-for-4 from the field in the final minute. Cameron King sealed the win with a rebound on a last-second shot from Trevor Lucas, giving Franklin their first road win since Jan. 28, 2017 at Earlham.
The Grizzlies connected on 45.8 percent (33-for-72) of their field goals on the night, going 8-for-17 from three and 26-for-37 at the free throw line. Trevor Lucas had a game-high 31 points for the Ravens, who knocked down 40 percent (26-for-65) of their field goals on the night. Anderson shot 8-for-22 from long range and 38-for-44 from the line.
Rebounds were 48-39 in favor of the Grizzlies. Franklin finished with 16 offensive boards, recording 15 second-chance points on the night.
With their first road win of the year now under their belts, the Grizzlies have plenty of momentum to take into their next contest, which comes on Saturday (Dec. 9) in Defiance, Ohio against the Defiance Yellow Jackets.
"Road wins in this league are tough to come by," Prather added. "For us to grab a road win against an upper-tier team is just huge for us. We played well and executed and we played good defense. Those are things that we can take with us into a big conference game on Saturday."
Tip-off between the Grizzlies and Yellow Jackets is set for approximately 4:00 p.m.