HANOVER, Ind. – Less than 24 hours after a thrilling win in the opening round of the 2019 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) Tournament, the Franklin men's basketball team stepped back onto the Collier Arena floor for a semifinal meeting with second-seeded Transylvania University.
The Grizzlies (12-15) were unable to overcome the Pioneers' (17-9) quick-strike offense, as Transylvania ended Franklin's season with an 89-77 win. Four members of the Grizzlies finished the night in double figures, led by 18 points and nine assists from junior Borden Kennedy.
"Tonight was a contrast of the last time we played Transylvania," Head coach Kerry Prather said after the game. "The last time we met, we were surgical on offense and hard to guard. Defensively, we took away their strengths and made them try to score in ways they may not be comfortable. Tonight, the roles flipped. That said, this doesn't erase the last six weeks where we played like a conference champion. We told them this is the product of their work and refining their skills and understanding how we need to play to win. From that perspective, I can't express how proud I am of this team."
Franklin was quick out of the gate on offense thanks to five points from Matt Krause in the game's opening minutes that spotted the Grizzlies an early 7-4 lead. But the Pioneers would flip the scoreboard over a two-minute stretch with a 10-0 run to make it a 14-7 game with 14:41 on the clock.
The Grizzlies were able to put the stops to the Pioneer offense and erase the deficit, rattling off a 12-3 run to get back within striking distance. Payton Mills connected on a layup with 8:10 to go in the half, evening up the game at 21. But the Grizzlies couldn't find the go-ahead bucket and thanks to a late 8-0 run, the Pioneers took a 43-35 lead into the break.
Payton Mills opened the second half with a layup for Franklin, but Transylvania followed with six straight points to extend the lead to double figures for the first time. Franklin would spend the next several minutes fighting back, clawing back to within 57-51 with 11:41 to go following two free throws from Kennedy.
That proved to be as close as the Grizzlies would get, as Transylvania stretched the lead back to double figures with eight minutes to go. The lead would balloon back to double digits with eight minutes to go and would remain there for the rest of the contest.
Franklin connected on 40.7 percent (22-for-54) for their field goals on the night, going 6-for-15 from three and 27-for-33 from the line. Sam Gutierrez finished with 14 points, Kale Morris added 13 points and Jordan Anderson connected for 10 points off the bench. Matt Krause led the Grizzlies with 10 rebounds, coming one point shy of a double-double.