PITTSBURGH, PA – La Roche put together an incredible comeback to keep their perfect conference record intact. The Redhawks rallied from an eighteen point second half deficit to beat Franciscan 75-72. It was a total team effort as La Roche improved to 13-2 on the season and 8-0 in conference.
Austin Hannes opened with a contested three-pointer and carried the Redhawk offense early. Franciscan's hustle kept things close as they led 9-8 at the 13:12 mark. La Roche answered with four straight points, including a Tyler Frederick steal and two-handed slam.
The Barons stopped the run with a basket underneath, and continued to battle the Redhawks on the boards. Franciscan converted a three-point play with 9:46 left in the half for a 21-16 lead.
La Roche struggled from the field, but they remained in striking distance by making things difficult for Franciscan. They held the Barons to just one field goal over a three minute stretch late in the first half. Zach Gould got the Redhawks back within four points, burying a three-pointer falling down and then added a free throw on the foul.
La Roche entered the half with that same four point deficit.
Franciscan opened the second half with seven straight points, forcing Coach Carmichael to burn a timeout. The Barons came out of the stoppage with a three-pointer to build a 49-36 lead.
Gould, the AMCC's leading three-pointer, drained a shot from long range to get the deficit back to ten. La Roche however continued to struggle shooting the basketball, and Franciscan upped their lead to eighteen.
A Shawn Dunnings three-pointer cut the deficit back to fifteen and Gould drew a charge. Frederick climbed the ladder on an offensive rebound to make it a thirteen point game.
Frederick closed the gap to 61-50 with a jumper at the elbow with ten minutes left. Gould hit a jumper falling backwards to cut the deficit to single digits at the 8:18 mark.
Both teams traded baskets before a Darius Lawrence steal and cross court pass to Frederick cut it to seven with 4:46 left. Gould traded three-pointers with Franciscan and a 70-63 game with three and a half minutes to go.
Lawrence layed in an up and under and a Hannes steal and layup on the next possession made it a one score game at the 2:04 mark. Phifer picked off a pass and Gould converted a pair of free throws to get the Redhawks back to one.
Lawrence drew a charge, and Gould was fouled attempting a three-pointer. He converted 2 of 3 to give the Redhawks their first lead since early in the first half.
Franciscan answered sinking two free throws on the other end.
Coach Carmichael drew up a play, and the Redhawks executed to perfection. Frederick came off a screen and Lawrence found him underneath for a 73-72 advantage. Franciscan need a bucket on the other end, but Frederick forced a turnover and Hannes converted both free throws.
Gould finished with a team-high 23 points. Frederick registered a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Hannes netted 16 points.