TEMPLE TERRACE, Fla. – The Franklin College men's basketball team tipped off a two-game swing in the Sunshine State on Monday (Nov. 19) night, taking on NAIA Division I opponent Florida College.
In a fast-paced contest, four Grizzlies (1-2) reached double figures on the night with sophomore Sam Gutierrez' 25 points leading all scorers. Matt Krause added 21 points off the bench for Franklin, but the Grizzlies' furious second half rally wasn't enough as the Falcons (5-2) held on for a 98-87 win.
"I'm really proud of that second half run after we struggled making some shots in the first half" Head coach Kerry Prather said after the game. "We had to play around some size disadvantages we don't usually have to worry about. We played with a great pace, got some great looks and did some good work on the boards. We needed to lock down on one or two more possessions in the second half but credit to Florida College. We learned a lot about our team tonight against a really good opponent."
The pace was frantic from the opening tip and after falling behind early, Franklin rolled off a 12-2 run to take an 18-13 lead with 13 minutes to play in the opening half. The Falcons countered with a 10-1 run of their own to re-take the lead. Franklin would struggle to knock down shots the rest of the half and headed into the locker room trailing 48-34. The Grizzlies shot 28.6 percent from the field in the opening half while the Falcons connected at a 56.3 percent rate.
The Falcon lead grew to as many as 18, but the Grizzlies would slowly start to chip away over the final nine minutes. A Kale Morris jumper with 6:48 to go in the game brought the Grizzlies within single digits and just a few minutes later a 7-0 Franklin run closed the gap to 86-82 with 2:14 to play.
But the rally fell short as the Falcons held the Grizzlies in check on offense the remainder of the game, closing things out with a 12-5 run.
Franklin shot 35.4 percent (28-for-79) from the field, knocking down 13-of-33 threes and 18-of-22 free throws. Krause buried a team-high five triples with Morris knocking down a quartet of shots from beyond the arc. Danny Goggans had 18 points and 10 boards, recording his third career double-double while Morris added 16 points.
The Falcons used their considerable size advantage to hold a 50-40 edge in the rebounding battle. The Grizzlies won the turnover battle, forcing 14 turnovers while committing just 13 giveaways.
Franklin wraps up their Florida trip on Tuesday (Nov. 20) night, when they take on Southeastern University. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.