BRADFORD, Pa. – The Franciscan men's basketball team rolled to a 63-52 win over Pitt.-Bradford on the road in AMCC action, Saturday afternoon.
The win for the Barons marks the first time Franciscan has defeated the Panthers on the road and the first-ever series sweep in the teams' 10-year series history.
The Barons turned in their best shooting performance of the season behind a 48.0% clip from the floor (24-for-50) and out-rebounded the Panthers 41-28. Senior Keoni Sablan led the Barons with 16 points and five rebounds.
"Keoni lead us today and he played really well on both ends," complimented head coach Joe Wallace. "I take him for granted sometimes. He's a tough kid and I'm going to enjoy the stretch run with him."
Freshman Sean Hickey posted 13 points. Junior Juwan Perkins finished the day with six points and a team-best seven rebounds. Senior Jacob Divens dished out four assists to go with his steal and pair of points.
"Sean Hickey continues to become a staple. He plays with such poise," continued Coach Wallace. "Juwan gave us great defense and rebounding. He played within himself. Seven rebounds are huge for a guard."
Hickey hit a jumper with 14:07 to play in the first half to give the Barons an 8-6 lead, one that they would not relinquish for the rest of the contest. Sophomore Matt Trent sandwiched a pair of layups around a deep Hickey three to give the Barons a 15-6 lead with 12:06 to play. On the next two Baron possessions, Sablan finished contested layups under the basket to give Franciscan a 19-6 lead with 11:04 to play. The Barons used a 10-5 run over the next six minutes to give Franciscan it's largest lead of the game, 29-11, with just over five to play in the first. Bradford closed out the half with an 11-6 run in the final minutes of the half to give Franciscan a 35-22 lead at the break.
The Panthers came out hot in the second half and trimmed the Baron lead down to four, 41-37, with a 15-6 run in the first seven minutes of action. Sophomore Joe Schriner put a halt to the Panther run with a layup at 12:31 left in the second to push the Baron lead back to 43-37. Schriner followed it up with a three on the next Baron possession to give Franciscan a 46-37 lead. Franciscan then used a 14-3 run over the next eight minutes, including four points and four rebounds from senior JP Dombrowski to give Franciscan a 20-point lead, 60-40, with 3:20 to play in the game.
"John Paul made huge plays down the stretch. He made a big-time post move and had confidence guarding on the perimeter," remarked Coach Wallace.
The Barons and Panthers played a close final three minutes as Divens hit a pair of free throws with 34 seconds left to push the Baron lead back to 13, 63-50 before Reginald Rogers made a final layup to bring the score to its final, 63-52.
Franciscan forced 22 Panther turnovers and capitalized with 25 points off the turnovers. The Barons held the Panthers to 30.8% shooting for the game, including 22,2% shooting in the first half.
"Our half-court defense was elite tonight," continued Coach Wallace. "We played with urgency and toughness."
Franciscan returns to the court on Wednesday as they host Penn St.-Altoona for a 6 pm AMCC tip-off.