LAKELAND, Fla. – The Franklin College men's basketball team wrapped up their two-game Florida trip on Tuesday (Nov. 20) night, taking on the No. 11-ranked team in NAIA Division II in the Southeastern University Fire.
Junior Jordan Anderson set a new career-high with 22 points coming off the bench, a number nearly matched by classmate Kale Morris' 21-point performance. But the Grizzlies (1-3) were done in by a bit Southeastern (4-0) run midway through the second half, dropping a 95-83 decision to the Fire.
"I am really excited coming out of these two games. We played against two very good schools and we did just enough self-harm to cost us. We were able to focus on our rotations and our fast break offense in practice and above all else, we played hard. It's hard not to be excited about what we're putting together this year."
Both teams came out running to start the contest and after the Fire opened up an early six-point lead, the Grizzlies drew even at 12 on back-to-back threes from Morris, the second coming with 14:25 on the clock in the first half. It remained a one-possession game until the final five minutes of the first half, when Southeastern used a 10-2 run to put some space between the teams on their way to a 46-39 lead at the break.
Franklin opened the second half with a Morris jumper and an Anderson long ball to get within two, which was where they sat when a Danny Goggans layup made it 50-48 with 16:52 showing on the clock. But another 10-2 Fire run followed and stretched the lead to double figures for the first time.
The Fire's lead grew to as many as 17 with two minutes to play, but Franklin refused to go away quietly, closing the contest with an 11-4 run before the final horn sounded.
The Grizzlies shot 41.6 percent (32-for-77) from the field, going 8-for-20 from long range and 11-for-18 from the free throw line. Matt Krause added 12 points off the bench and Sam Gutierrez added 11 to join Morris and Anderson in double figures.
Rebounds were 45-40 in favor of the Grizzlies with Krause's nine boards leading all players. Gutierrez added a season-high eight rebounds, followed by seven from Morris. Franklin did an exceptional job on the offensive glass, turning 18 offensive boards into 22 second chance points, out-scoring the Fire by six in that department.
The Grizzlies will break for Thanksgiving ahead of their next contest, which takes place next Tuesday (Nov. 27) night. Franklin continues their current four-game road swing when they head to Danville, Ky. to take on the Centre Colonels. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.