STEUBENVILLE – The Franciscan offense caught fire in the second half as the men's basketball team defeated Pitt.-Bradford 87-71 in the final home game before the Christmas holiday, Saturday afternoon.
The Barons shot 65.6% (21-for-32) from the floor in the second half, including going 7-for-8 from beyond the arc as Franciscan out-scored the Panthers 51-39 in the final 20 minutes. For the game, Franciscan shot a season-best 53.0% (35-66) from the floor and 61.1% from three-point range (11-for-18). Franciscan's 87 points are the highest point total for the Barons this year and tie the highest point total under head coach Joe Wallace.
Trailing 28-23 with 4:16 to play in the first, Wallace called a timeout to give his squad a chance to regroup and the brief break gave the Barons new energy. Junior Josh York (Russia, OH/Russia) used a pair of jumpers and a free throw over 50 seconds of game action to tie the game for his team at 28-28 with 3:09 to play. Senior Juwan Perkins (Detroit, MI/Oak Park) gave the Barons the lead as he took a steal coast-to-coast and finished the layup with 2:47 to play. After Reginald Rogers hit the back end a trip to the free throw line to get the Panthers to within one, 30-29, the Barons closed out the half with a 6-3 run, thanks to a pair of threes from junior Joe Schriner (Bluffton, OH/Bluffton) in the final two minutes. Franciscan carried the 36-31 lead into the break.
Following halftime, junior Matt Trent (Cleveland, OH/Trinity) led the Barons on a 6-2 in the first 1:39 of action to give Franciscan a 42-34 lead. A layup from York just over a minute later pushed the Franciscan lead to 10, 46-36, with 17:05 to play. Another steal/layup combination from Perkins extended the Baron lead to 12, 48-36 but the Panthers used a 5-2 run to get back to within nine, 50-41, with 14:47 to play.
"Juwan made big splash plays for us," remarked Coach Wallace on his only senior. "He had timely steals and made two nice drives and finishes in the first half when we were struggling to score."
Freshman Travis Lien (St. Louis, MO/Kirkwood) checked into the game and immediately drained a three right in front of the Baron bench to push the lead back to 12, 53-41. The three from Lien kicked off a 7-2 run for Franciscan to as the Barons took their largest lead of the game up to that point at 17, 60-43. The Panthers hung around, however, and eventually cut the lead back to single digits, 76-67, with 3:34 to play. Sophomore Sean Hickey (North Olmsted, OH/Holy Name) hit back-to-back threes and freshman Justin Mack (Oxnard, CA/Oxnard) drained a three to cap an 11-0 run for the Barons, giving them an 87-67 lead with 1:43 to play. Pitt.-Bradford closed out the game with a jumper and a pair of free throws in the final minute as Franciscan won 87-71.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair as the teams saw six ties and six lead changes before Franciscan took the lead for good at the 4:16 mark.
Five players finished in double figures for the Barons as Trent (18 points, 10 rebounds), and York (13 points, 10 rebounds) each posted a double-double for the Barons. Hickey led the team with 19 points behind a 5-for-7 three-point day.
"Josh's presence was huge today. He was spectacular on both ends of the floor. Josh usually impacts the game on the defensive end and it can unnoticed, but he saw the ball go in early and gained confidence as the game went on," complimented Coach Wallace. "Matt and Sean continue to prove they are two of the better players in our conference. When the two of them are playing to their capabilities, we are a tough team to beat."
Schriner came off the bench with 15 points and six rebounds for Franciscan and dished out a team-best seven assists.
"It was nice to finally have a healthy Joe Schriner out there," continued Wallace. "He attacked, made tough shots, and created for others. He had a big-time performance today."
The Barons hit the road on Tuesday as they travel to St. Francis for an exhibition game before breaking for Christmas. Following the holiday, the Barons return to the court on December 29 as they welcome Chatham to Kuzma Court for a 2:00 pm non-conference contest.