Franklin, Ind. - Senior Bailey Howard (Nashville, Ind./Brown County) and sophomore Dion Smith (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) each scored over 20 points in leading the Franklin College men's basketball team to a 97-93 victory over Transylvania University in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) action on Wednesday in the Spurlock Center.
The victory stopped a four-game losing streak and improved the Grizzlies to 4-5 in league play.
"This was a huge win. We needed it so badly. We had been close to getting some wins over the past few games," said Head Men's Basketball Coach Kerry Prather. "I am most proud of how the guys have handled those tough setbacks. Practices have been good and we improved on some areas to pick up the win tonight."
Franklin (7-9, 4-5 HCAC) started the game fast, leading 21-11 midway through the first half. Transylvania (6-10, 4-5 HCAC) got within two points, 27-25, after a layup by Garrett Dorfman at the 7:03 mark of the period.
Later, a pair of free throws from senior Troy Porter (Frankfort, Ind./Frankfort) gave the hosts a 31-26 lead. However, the Pioneers used a 10-4 run over the final 2:47 to take a 46-41 halftime advantage.
In the second half, the two teams exchanged leads throughout the early stages. A layup from Howard put Franklin ahead 54-50 with 16:36 remaining. It would be the largest lead any team would have over the first 10 minutes of the second half.
The Grizzlies scored eight consecutive points to take a 73-65 lead with 7:29 left. A jumper by Porter capped the 8-0 spurt. The lead grew to nine points, 85-76, at the 3:25 mark following a layup by Smith.
The visitors clawed their way back in the game, trailing 93-89 with 31 seconds left. Franklin freshman Aaron Mann (Indianapolis, Ind./Howe) connected on a pair of free throws to extend the lead back to six points. Transylvania's Mason Monroe converted a layup on the next possession to get the team within 95-91 with 23 seconds remaining. After a turnover, Monroe made another layup to bring Transylvania to a 95-93 deficit with 14 seconds left.
Franklin senior Terry Sargent (Indianapolis, Ind./Howe) made two free throws with eight seconds left to secure the victory.
"We did a really good job in the second half. We let them get some threes in the first half. We shut that down (0-for-6 from behind the arc) in the second half. I'm proud of how the guys responded," said Prather.
Howard led the Grizzlies with 26 points behind 19 second-half points. Smith went 10-of-11 shooting from the field in scoring 21 points. He also had a game-high nine rebounds. Porter added 17 points, while Sargent scored 14 points. Mann scored a career-high 13 points off the bench.
Franklin shot 57.6 percent from the floor and made 25 of its 29 free throw attempts in the contest. The team held a 39-26 rebounding advantage.
The Grizzlies return to action on Saturday, January 25 at 3 p.m. when they travel to the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio. Live statistics of the game will be available here.