STEUBENVILLE – Freshman Sean Hickey got a last-second push on the ball to knock away Washington & Jefferson's possession as time expired to help the Franciscan men's basketball team to a thrilling 82-80 win over the Presidents, Monday evening.
W&J hit a crucial three-pointer with seven seconds left to play and as Franciscan was inbounding the ball, the Barons turned the ball over on the baseline giving the Presidents life with less than 10 seconds to play and trailing by just two points. After the W&J inbound, the Barons forced the Presidents to swing the ball around before Hickey tapped the ball out of a W&J player's hands to disrupt the offense as time expired. Franciscan earned its first win over a non-conference opponent in three years with the 82-80 win as the Barons hit a single-game point total high for the season.
"Sometimes you just need to find a way to win," remarked head coach Joe Wallace. "Today, we just found a way to win."
Leading by seven with 52 seconds to play, the Barons seemed to have the game in hand but the Presidents posted three unanswered points thanks to free throws to cut the deficit to four, 79-75. Sophomore Joe Schriner hit a pair of free throws to not only push his game total to 21, a career-best, but give the Barons an 81-75 lead with 20 seconds left. Brian Graytok and senior Jacob Divens traded layups before Jonathan DeVito hit a three to get the Presidents to within three with seven seconds to play. After the inbound pass was turned over, the Franciscan grit came to the court as Hickey did everything he could, as did the rest of the Baron defense, to disrupt the offense and not allow W&J to get a shot off. The Barons held on to win their first non-conference game since the 2014-15 season.
The Barons found themselves trailing W&J early as the Presidents held a 7-4 lead 2:19 into action. Schriner made a jumper on Franciscan's next possession to kick off Franciscan's 13-10 run, capped by Schriner's three at 14:25 to tie the game at 17-17. After the two teams traded baskets over the next four minutes to give Franciscan a 23-22 lead, senior Keoni Sablan hit a three to give Franciscan its largest lead of the game thus far, 26-22, with 9:55 to play. The Barons closed out the final 10 minutes on a 23-16 run to give FUS a comfortable 49-38 lead at the break.
The Presidents took their first lead of the second half as W&J out-scored FUS 15-3 in the first 4:17 of the second. Divens halted the Presidents' run with a deep three-pointer with 14:58 to play to give Franciscan back its lead but W&J answered with a three of their own and the two teams engaged in a shooting war until Matt Trent made a layup with 4:50 to play to give Franciscan back the lead. Hickey hit a three to push the lead back to six but W&J kept the press on until DeVito's three cut the Baron lead to two in the final 30 seconds.
Franciscan held on for the win thanks to the defensive prowess of Hickey.
Offensively, the Barons were led by Schriner behind a career-high 21 points while four different Barons scored in the double figures. Perkins and Trent each finished with 13 points while Hickey put up 10 for the Barons. Sophomore Josh York finished the day with seven points and 13 rebounds while Sablan dished out five assists.
Franciscan will take a short break for Christmas before hosting Grove City on Friday, December 29 at 2:00 pm.