Men’s basketball falls to Franklin Pierce 76-73
Ben Martin – Contributor
The universities men’s basketball team lost to the Franklin Pierce Ravens 76-73 after a late-game comeback fell just short.
With the Owls down by seven and with just under four minutes left on the clock, the team needed a spark, and that spark came from sophomore Cherif Diarra, a forward who would score the next two baskets for the Owls, cutting the ravens lead to three.
However, the Ravens would knock down a jump shot, expanding their lead back to five. After that, sophomore guards Sean James and Mary Silvera each would score in to get the Owls to down by one for the final minute of play. Despite the Owls coming within one, that would not prove to be enough for them to win as the Ravens would score at the 48-second mark and close out the game with free throws.
“We gotta play for 40 minutes.” graduate student Zack Penn, center, said.
Although the Owls did end up losing the game, the first half told a different story. With two minutes and 34 seconds left in the half, the Owls held a two-point lead, but they would expand that lead before the buzzer hit. The lead started to grow when James knocked down a three pointer. From there, Silvera would hit a layup and the Owls last basket of the half would come from senior guard, Ulyen Coleman with just seven seconds left on the clock, sending the Owls in up by ten at the midpoint of the game.
Nevertheless, the second half would prove to be a different story as the Ravens would start off hot and tie the game with just over nine minutes left on the clock. From there, the Ravens would outduel the Owls in the final nine minutes leading them to victory.
“You have a ten-point lead at half-time, you got to compete, finish a game,” Owl’s head coach Scott Burrell said. “Can’t let a team sniff any life and we let them sniff life, they got hungrier and hungrier, and they made shots, they got confident.”
Coleman agreed with his coach that letting the Ravens sniff life was a big problem for the Owls in Wednesday’s matchup.
“I just feel like we gave it away,” Coleman said. “We struggled with putting teams away when we’re up by ten plus, so we gotta work on being able to extend a lead when we get that separation and finish the game off. We gotta fix that.”
Coleman added that letting teams come back from being down was something that has occurred a lot as of late. In the Owls matchup against the Pace university Setters on February 4th, the Setters were down by eight before the end of the first half; however, the Setters would come back to take a one-point lead into the break. They would eventually take the game by a score of 78-73.
Along with letting teams come back from being down, Penn noticed another issue plaguing the team in Wednesday’s loss: defense and rebounding.
“It comes down to playing defense for 30 seconds on the shot clock and finishing it with a rebound,” Penn said. “Every time we give them a second chance point it hurts our chances.”
By the end of the matchup, the Ravens came away with 27 defensive rebounds causing eight second chance points. In addition, the Ravens added 30 points in the paint and shot 47.2 percent against the Owls defense.
“We gotta go into these next two days of practice and play as hard as we can on defense and work better on defense,” Penn said. “Cause if we are giving up 76 points, it’s gonna be tough to win any game.”
In addition to the defense, Coleman believes other things need to be addressed.
“We just need everybody on the same page, and everyone focused on one goal,” Coleman said. “If we do that, we’ll bounce back.”