FRANKLIN, Ind. – Paced by an efficient offense and a suffocating defense and a career afternoon from an unlikely source, the Franklin College men's basketball team turned in a complete effort on Saturday (Jan. 27) afternoon in a win over Defiance College.
Junior Atticus Felling came off the bench to pour in a game-high 29 points for the Grizzlies. Jordan Anderson would add 16 points off the bench as Franklin (6-13, 5-7 HCAC) rolled to an 86-66 win over Defiance (3-16, 2-10 HCAC), giving Franklin back-to-back wins for the first time this year.
Both teams got off to a slow start on the offensive side, knocking down just one field goal each in the opening three minutes of the game. Both clubs would start to find their groove shortly after, but it was the Grizzlies who rattled off the first run of the game, going on a 9-2 stretch that made it 22-13 with 9:30 to go in the opening half.
Defiance followed with a 7-0 run to get back within a pair before Felling came off the bench to halt the rally. The Fairland, Ind.-native scored eight straight points as part of a 10-0 run that put the Grizzlies up 32-20 with 5:19 to go before the break. Defiance would rally to cut the deficit to a point late in the period, but six straight Grizzly point heading into the break spotted Franklin a 42-35 edge after 20 minutes of play.
Four straight Defiance buckets open second half put the visitors back in front, but Franklin would shake off the Yellow Jackets' rally in a big way. The Grizzlies outscored Defiance 18-3 over a seven-minute stretch, capped by a three from Felling that made it 63-48 with 8:52 to play.
That proved to be more than enough breathing room for the Grizzlies, as lead remained in double figures the rest of the game. A late three-pointer from freshman Brandon Eades put the Grizzlies up by 23, giving the Grizzlies their largest lead of the night and Eades his first career points.
The Grizzlies' offensive attack was efficient all night long, as Franklin connected on 50.9 percent (29-for-57) of their field goals on the night. Additionally, the Grizzlies shot 42.3 percent (11-for-26) from three and 68 percent (17-for-25) from the free throw line.
At the other end of the floor, the Grizzlies' defense flustered the Yellow Jackets all afternoon long. Defiance shot just 34.8 percent (23-for-66) from the floor, 29.4 percent (5-for-17) from three and 83.3 percent (15-for-18) from the line.
Anderson led the Grizzlies with six rebounds and six assists on the day. Defiance held a 44-34 advantage on the glass, netting 12 second chance points on 16 offensive boards. Franklin took exceptional care of the ball, committing just nine turnovers and netting 24 points off 15 Defiance giveaways.
With Felling and Anderson leading the way, the Grizzlies' bench poured in a season-high 53 points. Also cracking double figures on Saturday were sophomore Borden Kennedy and senior John Beineke, who added 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Franklin will be in search of their third straight win on Wednesday (Jan. 31) night, when they close out the month of January with a showdown at Manchester University. Tip-off from North Manchester, Ind. is set for 7:30 p.m.