ANDERSON, Ind. – The Franklin College men's basketball team headed back out on the road on Wednesday (Jan. 23) night for the first of two straight games away. The Grizzlies looked to close out a season sweep of the Anderson Ravens with a win in the O.C. Lewis Gymnasium.
The Grizzlies (5-13, 3-8 HCAC) fell behind early and trailed deep into the second half. But thanks to a balanced scoring effort and some clutch stops on the defensive end, Franklin rallied for a come-from-behind 77-73 win, pulling away from the Ravens (7-11, 6-5 HCAC) over the final five minutes to earn a much-needed and well-earned victory.
"We've been through a rough stretch and it has been frustrating to be so close to wins and they haven't gone our way," Head coach Kerry Prather noted after the game. "This group has shown amazing mental toughness to come back every day and work hard in practice and I couldn't be prouder of our perseverance and the grit that they've shown. Tonight, it came down to possessions and we made shots, got stops and we got rebounds when we needed them. I can't remember the last time I felt like a team deserved a win more than this one."
Early on, the Grizzlies turned to the long ball to stake themselves to the lead. Jordan Anderson buried one shot from deep and Kale Morris knocked down a pair to power the Grizzlies to an early 13-9 lead.
Franklin remained out in front until an 8-0 Anderson run made it a 25-21 game with seven minutes to go. Franklin would tie things up late in the opening period before five straight Anderson points to close the half gave the Ravens a 38-33 lead when the teams headed into the locker room at the half.
The hosts held the Grizzlies at bay early in the second half, growing their lead to as big as eight at 50-42 with 14:17 showing on the clock. But the Grizzlies would begin their comeback shortly after, drawing back to even thanks to a 10-3 run and a Sam Gutierrez three that evened the game up at 55.
Following a 7-2 Anderson run, the Grizzlies look the lead at long last following back-to-back triples from Morris and Gutierrez that made it 63-62 with five minutes to play. It proved to be a lead Franklin would hang on to for good, as the Grizzlies' defense held Anderson to just three field goals over the final five minutes while the team knocked down key shots and free throws down the stretch.
Morris had a big game for the Grizzlies, finishing with a team-high 19 points, 15 of which came courtesy of five three-pointers. He was one of six Grizzlies to reach double figures on the night, joining 12 points from Matt Krause, 11 from Gutierrez, Payton Mills and Borden Kennedy and a 10-point night from Anderson. Franklin shot 52.3 percent (25-for-47) from the field, going 9-for-14 from three and 18-for-24 from the line.
Mills added 10 boards to cap off his first career double-double as Franklin finished with a 33-25 edge on the glass. Kennedy handed out a game-high five assists in his second straight start.
Franklin wraps up their current road trip on Saturday (Jan. 26) afternoon, taking on the Defiance Yellow Jackets in search of the sweep of the season series. Tip-off is set for approximately 4:00 p.m.