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Career-high effort lifts Franklin men

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Junior guard Bailey Howard and senior forward Gunner Erwin combined for 54 points to power Franklin College to a 97-82 men’s basketball victory against visiting Wabash College on Wednesday night.

The win snapped a three-game losing streak to the Little Giants.

With Howard out front and Erwin driving the middle, the Grizzlies were in tip-top shape.

In the first half, Wabash had 14 field goals, 12 coming in the paint. But the Grizzlies hit 7 of 12 from outside the arc to compensate to take a 46-37 advantage.

Once again, defense was at the forefront of Franklin’s success from end to end.

“These guys work so hard, and they’re all so competitive,” Franklin coach Kerry Prather said.

Coming out of the break, Erwin got things started on a high note with a steal and a coast-to-coast fast-break layup.

Then during the next five minutes, Erwin and Howard really got things going.

Erwin drained a 3-pointer and made it a four-point play when he was fouled in the act of shooting. With the 30-second clock running down, junior guard J.T. Barton banked one off the glass for another trey to put the Grizzlies up 70-56.

To demonstrate the physical nature of the game, Wabash was whistled for two technical fouls and Franklin had one.

Over the final seven minutes, Franklin maintained at least a 10-point advantage by getting to the free-throw line.

The Grizzlies (6-4) hit 26 of 32 free throws and shot 55.6 percent from the field, hitting 30 of 54 attempts.

Howard finished with a career-high 33 points. He was 10 of 14 from the field, 4-of-4 from outside the arc and 9-of-11 at the charity stripe. Erwin scored 21 points and added a team-high seven rebounds. Barton also reached double-figures with 10 points.

For Wabash (3-6), freshman guard Ross Sponsler had a team-high 21 points.

Freshman forward Daniel Purvlicis added 15.

The Grizzlies next game is scheduled for Dec. 30 against visiting Illinois Wesleyan.

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