Franklin College battled furiously in the final minute in their regular-season opener at Centre College on Monday night.
But the host Colonels didn’t buckle, especially at the free-throw line. Centre held on to top the Grizzlies 78-72 in a nonconference men’s basketball clash.
After Centre (1-1) broke away from a 57-all tie with five minutes remaining to lead by eight at 70-62 with 43 seconds left, Franklin senior forward Gunner Erwin hit a 3-point basket to pull the visitors to within five. But the Colonels answered with two free throws by forward Josh Karshner.
The Grizzlies then added a free throw and 3-point baskets by guards Bailey Howard and Callan Hughes in succeeding possessions, only to have the hosts answer with a pair of free throws each time.
Franklin stayed within striking distance all game long despite being outshot .650 to .421 from the field. The Colonels also grabbed 31 rebounds to the Grizzlies’ 22, but Franklin helped itself by committing just 10 turnovers.
Erwin scored a game-best 20 points and had seven rebounds. Howard added 16 points, and junior guard J.T. Barton chipped in 11.