Roberts gets going early to beat Franklin Pierce

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A dominant first half performance helped pace the Roberts Wesleyan men’s basketball team to an 81-76 win over Franklin Pierce on Tuesday afternoon in the Voller Athletic Center.

It was a tale of two halves with the Redhawks taking total control in the first half before Franklin Pierce’s spirited second half performance nearly allowed them to overcome the 20-point deficit they faced at halftime.

Roberts jumped out of the gates fast taking a double digit lead after just three minutes of action. Over halfway through the first half the Redhawks clung to a 21 point lead, holding the Ravens to only nine points.

Jean Toussaint scored 12 of his 15 total points in the first half while adding in two steals, a pair of blocks and three rebounds in that span. As a team in the first half the Redhawks were efficient, shooting over 58-percent from the field and 50-percent from beyond the arc. The team also forced the visitors into 11 turnovers.

The second half belonged to the Franklin Pierce as the Ravens outscored Roberts 54-39. A trapping full court press gave the Redhawks fits forcing the team into 12 turnovers which resulted in 19 points for FPU. With 6:14 remaining in the game the Ravens cut the lead to single digits for the first time since the beginning of the first half. Less than three minutes later the lead was cut to five points, but two straight buckets by Roberts pushed their lead back to nine points.

With 31 seconds on the clock a pair of made free throws by Franklin Pierce brought them within one possession of Roberts at 76-73, but the Redhawks connected on 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to hold and pick up their sixth win of the season.

Four of the five starters for Roberts Wesleyan scored in the double digits. Isaiah Lewis (Churchville-Chili) led with 17 points, followed by Justin Vaughan (Monroe Community College) with 16, Toussaint with 15 and Michael Bush with 11.

The team went 29-for-54 (53.7%) from the field and 4-of-13 (30.8%) from three point range.

Roberts (6-4, 2-1 ECC) will jump back into East Coast Conference play this weekend with a Friday night matchup against Queens at home (8 p.m. tip) and a Sunday game against Molloy at 4 p.m.

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