Franklin, Ind. - The Franklin College men's basketball team shot 68 percent in the second half to pick up a 91-72 home win on Saturday over Bluffton University on Alumni Day from the Spurlock Center. The Grizzlies improve to 10-11 on the season and 7-7 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) action.
Former men's basketball players participated in an alumni game prior to the contest and were recognized at halftime for their support and contributions to the program.
Franklin held a 44-38 halftime advantage, but opened the second half on a 9-3 run to push the lead to double figures. The team shot 5-of-9 from behind the arc in the second half.
The hosts took a 63-50 lead midway through the second half following a layup by sophomore Trae Washington (Bloomington, Ind./Bloomington South).
Bluffton (8-13, 4-10 HCAC) went on a 7-2 spurt over the next two minutes to trim the deficit 65-57 at the 8:12 mark.
However, senior Troy Porter (Frankfort, Ind./Frankfort) answered with a fast break four-point play on the next possession. The forward drained a three pointer from the left wing off an assist from Washington. Porter converted the free throw to give Franklin a 69-57 lead.
The Beavers would not get any closer over the final eight minutes.
In the first half, consecutive three-point field goals from senior Bailey Howard (Nashville, Ind./Brown County) put the Grizzlies ahead 14-8 in the first four minutes. Bluffton would answer behind a 14-6 run to take a 22-20 lead at the 12:55 mark.
The first half featured seven ties and four lead changes.
Later, sophomore Dion Smith (Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) made both free throws and freshman Matt Niehoff (Rushville, Ind./Rushville) connected on a three pointer with 7:12 remaining in the half. The basket gave Franklin a 34-30 lead.
The Grizzlies took a 44-38 halftime lead after senior Terry Sargent (Indianapolis, Ind./Howe) made a three-point field goal in the final minute of the period.
Howard paced four double-figure scorers with 25 points. He went 4-of-6 from behind the arc and made nine field goals in the contest. The guard averaged 35 points and shot 84.6 percent on three-point field goal attempts in the two contests against Bluffton this season. He scored 45 points in the team's 92-82 win on December 7.
Sargent added 17 points, while Porter and Smith each scored 16 points. The Grizzlies shot 60.4 percent from the floor in the contest and made 11 three pointers.
Bluffton's Will Pope scored a game-high 31 points. Thayne Recker scored 15 points and had nine rebounds. The two combined for 32 of the team's 38 first-half points.
Franklin returns to action on Wednesday, February 12 at 7:30 p.m. when it travels to Transylvania University. Live statistics and video of the game will be available here. In-game updates will also be available on Twitter (@FCAthletics) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FranklinCollegeAthletics).