MANCHESTER, N.H. – Franklin Pierce stormed out of the gates by scoring 20 of the game’s first 24 points and never looked back in downing New Haven 80-63 on Sunday in the 2013 NCAA Division II East Regional Semifinals at the SNHU Fieldhouse.
The top-seeded Ravens improved to 23-8 and advanced to Tuesday’s East Regional Championship versus seventh-seeded Bridgeport.
Junior forward Ellis Cooper, who topped 1,000 career points on Sunday, turned in another spectacular shooting effort as he scored 14 points, including 10 points alone during the opening surge as the Ravens took quick control.
Franklin Pierce connected on 4 of 5 shots to begin the game and Cooper highlighted the opening run with a 3-pointer from the right wing and a three-point play on back-to-back possessions.
Sophomore forward Ryen Vilmont aided the run with a 3-pointer and senior guard Eric Jean-Guillaume capped it with a three of his own to stake the Ravens to the 20-4 lead eight minutes in. Vilmont and Jean-Guillaume each dropped in 10 points of their own during the opening 20 minutes as they went for 13 and 17, respectively, in the game.
Franklin Pierce shot 57 percent from the floor (17 of 30) in the first half as the Ravens got several high percentage looks and held a 22-10 edge in points in the paint. The Ravens converted at an even more impressive 63 percent clip (5 of 8).
The Chargers shot just 39 percent (7 of 18) from the field. New Haven could never recover from the opening body blow dealt by Franklin Pierce.
The Chargers did counter with a quick 7-0 run, to pull within nine, but Franklin Pierce went right back to work with seven consecutive points of their own, keyed by five points from Vilmont, including a three-point play, to go up 27-11 with 5:53 left in the half.
Franklin Pierce kept the offensive momentum rolling and junior guard Curtis Christian put the Ravens up 38-17 with a little more than two minutes left in the stanza with a 3-pointer from beyond the left wing.
When their initial shots weren’t falling, the Ravens went to work on the offensive boards, collecting multiple rebounds and getting putbacks in taking an 8-0 advantage in second-chance points. Junior forward Adrianos Vourliotakis Perdikaris was the other Raven to have a strong shooting half as he scored nine points, including knocking down a jumper at the buzzer to send Franklin Pierce into the locker room with a 44-19 lead.
Vourliotakis continued to play well offensively in the second half. He netted 10 points in the stanza before exiting and finished with 19 points. He also worked tirelessly on the boards and ripped down 12 rebounds to notch a double-double. It marked the consecutive game Vourliotakis scored in double-figures and he is averaging 17.5 points and 10.0 rebounds per game during the NCAA tournament so far.