WHEATON, Ill. – Playing the final contest of four straight away from home to open the year, the Franklin men's basketball team is coming home a winner following a 72-69 victory over Principia College in the consolation game of the Wheaton College Lee Pfund Classic.
Sophomore Matt Krause led all players with 21 points, earning a spot on the all-tournament team following a pair of 20-plus point efforts. Junior Payton Mills poured in a career-high 20 points and sophomore Colin York had a personal best 12 points off the bench. Both Krause and Mills finished the night with double-doubles.
"We were able to turn to our two post players and they were great when we struggled to shoot the ball," Head coach Kerry Prather said. "We were able to buckle down defensively late and grind out a really good win heading into the home opener next week."
The Grizzlies netted the first six points of the contest and held an 11-6 edge with five minutes gone. But baskets would be tough to come by over the next five minutes, as Franklin recorded just one field goal during a 13-3 Panthers run that gave Principia a 19-14 lead with 10 minutes to go in the half.
The trio of Krause, Mills and York would light a spark on the offensive side of the ball as the halftime break approached, combining for 22 of the team's 27 points over the final 9:43 of the first half. When the teams headed into the locker room, Franklin held their largest lead of the day at 41-32.
Franklin's lead remained as high as nine points with 12 minutes to go in the ball game following a Mills layup that made it 54-45. But another prolonged scoring slump allowed the Panthers to get back in the game and with 6:27 to go, Principia held a 59-56 advantage after a 14-2 run.
But Franklin would get the stops when they needed them late and after a Principia technical foul, Kale Morris put Franklin in front for good with two free throws that made it 64-62 Grizzlies with three minutes to go. The Grizzlies collected six of their final eight points from the free throw line and held off a late surge to claim victory.
Franklin shot 39.1% (27-for-69) from the floor, knocking down six three-pointers and 12-of-15 free throws. Rebounds were 41-36 in Franklin's favor with Mills' 14 boards leading all players and Krause's 11 rebounds securing his third double-double of the year. Borden Kennedy had a team-high five assists while Franklin forced 18 turnovers.
The Grizzlies open up play inside the Spurlock Center on Wednesday (Nov. 20) night, when they welcome the Spalding Golden Eagles to town. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m.