FRANKLIN, Ind. - The Mount St. Joseph University men's basketball team traveled to Franklin, Indiana to take on the Grizzlies of Franklin College in a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference matchup. After a hard-fought defensive battle the Lions headed back home to Cincinnati with a much needed conference win, taking the Grizzlies down 57-50.
The Mount came into the game losers of seven of their last eight games, including three HCAC losses. In dire need of an HCAC victory Coach Carrigan shuffled his lineup going into the matchup with the Grizzlies. He inserted a pair of freshman into the starting lineup, tabbing Brady Thomas (Grove City, Ohio/Bishop Ready) and Tanner Clos (Alexandria, Ky./Campbell County) to open the game.
Senior Jake Cropper (Georgetown, Ohio/Georgetown) who is the fourth leading scorer in the HCAC continued his stellar play for the Lions in this one. In a game where each team played stellar defense Cropper's 26 points were vital in the win, even bigger probably was his 8 rebounds. The Lions have been outrebounded by an average of nearly two boards a game so far this season, and Cropper and Devin Young (Crestwood, Ky./South Oldham) each pulled down eight. Helping the Lions to outrebound the Grizzlies 35-32 which was instrumental in the win.
Cedric Woods (Fairfield, Ohio/Fairfield) came off the bench to score nine points for the Lions.
The game was tight through the early going as the teams exchanged the lead three times over the opening five minutes of action. Franklin then when on a quick 8-2 spurt to gain control of the action. They would maintain the lead the rest of the first half, carrying a 26-20 advantage into the break.
Franklin maintained the lead for the first 11:28 of the second half as well. But with 8:32 to play in the game the Lions finally came back to tie the game at 43 on a Cropper layup. They were able to finally regain the lead with 4:27 to play as Cropper drilled a three to put the Lions ahead 48-45. It was their first lead since they held a 7-6 advantage at the 16:45 mark of the first half. Franklin regained the lead at 50-48, then the Lions would close the game on a 9-0 run over the final 3:10 of play to secure a much needed 57-50 victory.
The Lions will welcome the Pioneers of Transylvania University (8-5, 5-1 HCAC) and their three-game winning streak into the Harrington Center on Wednesday, January 9th. The game is scheduled for a 7:30 PM tip-off. Last season the Lions defeated the Pioneers twice enroute to a share of the HCAC regular season championship. Tune into MSJsports.com for all of your live game coverage!