After progress, Grizzlies revert

Franklin College coach Kerry Prather said he believed his young basketball team was moving forward.

Wednesday night, Prather said his team took a step backwards.

Rose-Hulman shot 61 percent on its way to an 81-60 rout of the host Grizzlies in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action at the Spurlock Center.

The Fightin’ Engineers (9-5, 5-2) connected on 67.9 percent from the field (19 of 28) in the first half to take a 48-25 lead at intermission.

“We didn’t guard anybody in the first half,” Prather said. “There are no surprises on either end. When you spot a methodical team like that big of a lead, then it’s going to be hard to come out of the hole.”

The Grizzlies (3-11, 2-5) connected on just 32.3 percent (10-of-31) of their shots in the opening half. Franklin fared better in the second half, making 14 of 29 shots for 48.3 percent.

“We played a lot better in the second half,” Prather said. “But you are down against a team that is going to chew up every second of the shot clock.”

Rose-Hulman cooled off to 53.8 percent from the field in the second half.

“They shoot a second-half percentage that we could probably live with, especially if we shoot a little better,” Prather said. “But 12 turnovers and what we give them shooting-wise in the first half, we’re better than that. We just didn’t show it (Wednesday night).

“I loved our intensity in the second half. We kind of got a little sad when we got down a little bit. We don’t have that luxury. We don’t have any seniors. We’ve got a couple of juniors. But we’ve played a lot of minutes now. We have to toughen up a little bit.”

Sophomore forward Collin Wojcik came off the bench to lead Rose-Hulman with 19 points.

Senior guard Corey Povaleri scored 18 points, sinking 6-of-7 shots and all five free throws for the Engineers.

“It wasn’t obvious (Wednesday night), but we’ve made a lot of progress,” Prather said. “Over the last four games, we’ve put up some really good offensive numbers. We have a lot of work to do defensively. But we’re getting better.”

Sophomore guard Aaron Mann was high for the Grizzlies with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Sophomore guard Robbie Prather added 13 points for Franklin. Freshman forward John Beineke added 11 off the bench.

The Grizzlies will play at Defiance at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

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Mark Ambrogi is a sports correspondent for the Daily Journal.