DEFIANCE, Ohio – The Franklin College men's basketball team wrapped up a two-game road trip on Saturday afternoon, taking on the Defiance Yellow Jackets in search of their second straight win.
Down by double figures in the second half, the Grizzlies (2-6, 1-2 HCAC) put up a valiant fight, but their comeback bid fell just short as Defiance (3-4, 2-1 HCAC) escaped with a 76-72 win.
Senior John Beineke led the Grizzlies with 17 points, while Jordan Anderson and Kale Morris chipped in with 16 and 14 points, respectively. In the end, the Grizzlies fell victim to a Defiance offense that shot 60 percent (18-for-30) from the floor in the second half.
The opening five minutes of play saw the lead change hands once with four ties mixed in as the two sides battled for the early lead. Franklin would turn to their defense to grab the advantage, holding Defiance scoreless for more than three minutes while rattling off a 7-0 run, taking a 16-9 lead with 12 minutes to play in the first half.
Defiance would cut the deficit to a point with five minutes to play in the first half, but Franklin would out-score the Yellow Jackets 8-4 down the stretch to take a 29-24 lead into the intermission. Franklin limited Defiance to 34.5 percent (10-for-29) shooting in the opening 20 minutes.
The hosts would grab the lead with an 8-1 run to open the second half, but Franklin re-claimed the advantage with a pair of Danny Goggans free throws and a three-pointer from Morris to make it 35-32 Grizzlies with 16:53 to play.
The two teams would trade the lead four times over the next three minutes, and following a Beineke layup with 13:08 to play, the two sides were dead-locked at 43-43. But the Yellow Jackets would gain the lead for good after rattling off a 14-2 run to stretch the lead to 57-45 with just over nine minutes to play.
The Grizzlies battled back with a 9-2 run to get within five points with five minutes to play. Franklin turned to the long ball to cut into the deficit even more, getting within a pair after back-to-back threes from Morris that made it 67-65 Defiance with 1:53 to play.
But the Grizzlies' couldn't get the tying basket, while Defiance was able to open up a two-possession lead at the free throw line. Defiance went 7-for-8 at the free throw line over the final two minutes, ending the Franklin comeback bid.
Franklin shot 45.6 percent (26-for-57) from the floor on Saturday afternoon, connecting on 9-of-21 three pointers and 11-of-18 free throws. Sam Gutierrez handed out a season-high nine assists as Franklin recorded 16 assists on 26 field goals made.
Defiance got a game-high 21 points from Randall Aikins Jr., as the team shot 47.5 percent (28-for-59) on the afternoon. The Yellow Jackets went 6-for-22 from three-point range and 14-for-17 at the free throw line.
Franklin held a 37-33 advantage in the rebounding battle with Beineke and Goggans tying for the lead among all players with seven rebounds.
The Grizzlies will have a week off before their next contest, when they host Bluffton University on Saturday, Dec. 16, in the team's final home game of 2017. Tip-off from the Spurlock Center is set for 4:00 p.m.