NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – There was no shortage of offense on display inside the Stauffer-Wolfe Arena on Wednesday (Jan. 31) night, as the Franklin College men's basketball team took on Manchester University in search of their third straight win.
For the first time this year, six different Grizzlies (6-14, 5-8 HCAC) reached double figures on the night with Sam Gutierrez and John Beineke tying for the team lead with 20 points each. The Grizzlies connected on 53.6 percent (37-for-69) of their field goals, but couldn't overcome a Manchester (5-15, 3-10 HCAC) offense that shot 62.9 percent (39-for-63) on the night in a 98-96 loss to the Spartans.
The two sides traded buckets in the early going before a 10-3 run allowed Manchester to take an early 16-11 lead. Manchester would stretch their lead to as many as 12 points later in the period, but the Grizzlies were able to chop into the deficit with five straight points before the break to cut the Spartans' lead to 52-47 at the break.
The second half opened with back-to-back layups from Beineke and Jordan Anderson to bring the Grizzlies within a point less than a minute into the final 20. Manchester would respond with an 8-0 run to stretch their lead out to nine at 62-53 with 15:30 to play.
Manchester's lead would stretch to double figures shortly after and remain there until a Gutierrez three with 7:27 sparked a 12-2 run that trimmed the deficit to 87-85 with 3:37 to play. A Gutierrez layup on the Grizzlies' next possession brought the Grizzlies within a point, but it was as close as Franklin would get as Manchester found a way to hold off the rally.
The Grizzlies got 16 points from Atticus Felling in his first career start, while Borden Kennedy (14 pts), Kale Morris (13 pts) and Anderson (11 pts) also reached double figures. Franklin went 9-for-21 from long range on Wednesday night and 13-for-15 from the free throw line. The Grizzlies assisted on 19 of their 37 field goals with Anderson and Morris setting new career highs with six and five assists, respectively.
Justin Lukens led the Spartans with 18 points on the night. Manchester went 7-for-12 from three-point range and 13-for-21 from the line on the night.
Franklin controlled the game on the glass, out-rebounding Manchester 38-25. Morris led all players with a career-best nine boards. Turnovers were 16-6 in favor of the Spartans with Manchester turning those 16 Franklin mistakes into 26 points.
The Grizzlies will look to get back in the win column on Saturday afternoon, when they open up the month of February with a showdown against the Earlham Quakers. The teams are set to tip-off at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.