FRANKLIN, Ind. – The Franklin College men's basketball team stepped on their home floor for the final time this season on Saturday (Feb. 10) afternoon, taking on one of the conference co-leaders in the Mount St. Joseph Lions.
Four Grizzlies (8-15, 7-9 HCAC) finished the day in double figures, led by 20 points from freshman Sam Gutierrez. But a late Mount St. Joseph (16-7, 13-3 HCAC) surge denied the Grizzlies of their third straight win, as Mount left town with an 80-70 win.
The visitors would jump out to an early lead, but an 8-0 Franklin shifted the balance and gave the Grizzlies a 14-11 lead with 13:35 to go in the opening half. The Lions would turn to the long ball to shift momentum back in their favor, knocking down five straight threes in a 15-2 run that made it a 30-21 game with five minutes to go in the half.
Franklin would head into the half trailing 42-32 after the Lions connected for seven three-pointers and 48.3 percent (14-for-29) of their field goals.
The halftime break proved to be a much-needed one for the hosts, as Franklin came out of the locker room firing on all cylinders. A double-digit deficit evaporated down to three after a jumper from Gutierrez made it 48-45 with 16:09 to play.
Franklin would re-take the lead with a little more than 10 minutes to play after a jumper from Kale Morris made it a 59-57 game. With just over six minutes left, the game sat tied at 64 when Atticus Felling buried a long in traffic.
But the final six minutes belonged to the Lions, as The Mount went 6-for-9 from the floor down the stretch while Franklin connected on just 3-of-10 shots over the final minutes to pull away.
The Grizzlies connected on 50.8 percent (30-for-59) of their field goals on the day, going 7-for-17 from behind the three-point line. Borden Kennedy (14 pts), Morris (14 pts) and senior John Beineke (15 pts) joined Gutierrez in double figures. Playing in his final career home game, Beineke also led all players with eight rebounds.
Franklin will head back out on the road for their final two regular season contests tied with Anderson and Bluffton in conference play as the three teams battle for two conference tournament spots. First up for the Grizzlies is a trip to Lexington, Ky. on Wednesday (Jan. 14) night for a meeting with Transylvania University. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.