DANVILLE, Ky. – Playing their final contest before the first leg of Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) play, the Franklin College men's basketball team hit the road to take on Centre College on Tuesday (Nov. 27) night.
Sophomore Sam Gutierrez finished with a team-high 17 points and was joined in double figures by junior Kyle Meyer and junior Jordan Anderson, who finished with 14 and 12 points, respectively. The Grizzlies (1-4) put up a fight but were unable to knock the Colonels (5-0) from the unbeaten ranks in an 80-71 loss.
"Tonight I thought we had a few stretches that we played pretty well," Head coach Kerry Prather said. "We got hurt tonight where we knew they could hurt us when they had the ball. Everybody goes through tough stretches in games and we need to limit those going forward. But this was another tough road test and it will have us ready for a big conference road contest on Saturday."
The first half saw the two team play a fast-paced contest, with several ties and lead changes exchanged. The Colonels erased a three-point deficit with a 10-2 run that made it a 23-18 game with 10 minutes to go in the opening half. Franklin shook off the deficit and buckled down defensively, limiting the hosts to just two field goals over the final seven minutes of the half to take a 35-32 lead into the break.
Centre opened the second half with four straight points to re-take the lead, but Gutierrez would answer with a jumper at the other end to make it 38-37 Grizzlies. Centre answered quickly, jumping back in front for good with an 11-3 run that made it 48-41 with 15 minutes to go in the game.
Franklin stayed within striking distance, but couldn't string together a run of their own as the Colonel lead grew to 61-50 with 10 minutes to play. The Grizzlies responded to their first double-digit deficit of the night with a 7-0 run and closed the gap to as little as three with a Gutierrez layup made it 69-66 with 4:26 on the clock. But the Grizzlies' comeback bid ended there, as Franklin knocked down just one field goal the rest of the way.
The Grizzlies shot 42.2 percent (27-for-64) from the field, going 5-of-18 from deep and 12-for-13 at the line. Danny Goggans grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds as the Colonels finished the night with a 35-32 edge on the glass. Gutierrez' three assists led the team and he tied with Payton Mills for most steals on the night with three.
Franklin opens up conference play on Saturday (Dec. 1), taking on Hanover College in the final game of their current four-game road trip. Tip-off is set for approximately 3:00 p.m.