FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Franklin College men's basketball team stepped onto the Spurlock Center floor for the first time in 2019 on Saturday (Jan. 5) afternoon, taking on the Mount St. Joseph Lions.
It was a hard-fought, defensive slugfest between the two Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) rivals, with four ties and four lead changes throughout the game. In the end, the Lions (4-9, 2-4 HCAC) used a late push to upend the Grizzlies (4-9, 2-4 HCAC) by a 57-50 count.
"We made some decisions late that proved costly after we worked incredibly hard to come back and build a lead," Head coach Kerry Prather said following the game. "We had a tough shooting night and unfortunately, we didn't compensate with the kind of offensive rebounding we've had in previous games. We defended Mount well today, but in the end, we made some decisions we can't make in late-game spots."
The Mount raced out to an early 7-2 lead, but Franklin would halt their momentum with a 14-2 run, capped by a Payton Mills layup with less than seven minutes gone in the opening half that put Franklin up 16-9. The Lions would get within a point when a Jake Cropper three made it a 19-18 game with 7:13 left in the half, but Franklin would counter with seven straight points to take their biggest lead of the day at 26-18 with five minutes to go in the half.
However, buckets would be tough for both sides to come by before the halftime horn, as the two sides combined for just one field goal the rest of the period. When the halftime horn sounded, the Grizzlies held a 26-20 lead, holding the Lions to just 9-for-27 from the floor in the opening half.
After Sam Gutierrez opened the second half with a bucket to extend the lead back to eight, the game turned into a one-possession affair for the bulk of the second half. Up by one with 12 minutes to go, freshman Matt Krause sank a three on consecutive trips down the floor to put Franklin in front 43-36 and force a Mount timeout.
The Lions fought back out of the timeout with a 12-2 run to take their first lead of the second half, but five straight Franklin points put the Grizzlies up 50-48 with 3:10 to play. But the offense went cold down the stretch, with Mount scoring the game's final seven points to earn the win.
Danny Goggans led the Grizzlies with 17 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, picking up his second double-double of the year. Gutierrez chipped in with 11 points and added seven assists for a Franklin offense that shot 40.7 percent (22-for-54) from the field on the afternoon. Rebounds were 35-32 in the Lions' favor.
Franklin is back in action on Wednesday (Jan. 9) night, when they welcome HCAC co-leader Rose-Hulman to the Spurlock Center. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.