LANCASTER, Pa. – Hayk Gyokchyan scored a career-high 34 points to lead No. 9 Franklin & Marshall to an 82-72 victory over Western Connecticut in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Diplomats will face Amherst on Friday in the Sweet 16 at a site and time to be determined. Amherst defeated NYU 80-56 to advance to round of 16. The trip will be the Diplomats 16th appearance in the Sweet 16.
Trailing by four points, 68-64, with 8:01 remaining in the game, Gyokchyan scored six points in a 10-2 run that spanned over four minutes and put the Diplomats up four, 74-70, with 4:11 left to play. Matt Porter put F&M up six before Gary Robinson hit a bucket to bring the Colonials back within four, 76-72, at 2:06.
Then Gyokchyan took over again.
The junior took a Georgio Milligan feed for a bucket to put F&M up six, 78-72, and teamed up will Milligan again for a dunk that put the Mayser Center on its feet and gave F&M an 80-72 lead with 42 seconds left. Milligan was fouled on the Diplomats' next possession and connected on both his shots to ice the victory.
The Diplomats started out the game strong and went up 14-1 at the 15:54 mark. Western Connecticut came within nine, 18-9, before F&M went on 10-5 run to go up 28-14 with 9:32 remaining in the first half. The Colonials countered by outscoring the Diplomats 11-4 to come within seven, 32-25, at 6:09. The teams exchanged baskets over the next few minutes before Western Connecticut cut the deficit to six, 40-34, with 2:44 remaining to the intermission. F&M finished the half with five unanswered points and went into the break with a 47-36 edge.
Western Connecticut opened up the second half with an 8-4 run to come within seven, 51-44, before F&M scored six straight to take a 57-44 advantage at 15:26. The Colonials slowly chipped away and erased F&M's 13-point lead to tie the game at 61, midway through the half.
Milligan hit one of two from the stripe to put F&M back up one, 62-61, but DaQuan Brooks answered with two of his own from the line as the Colonials took their first lead, 63-62 at 9:15. Western Connecticut went up three on foul shots from Shawn Moblilo before Gyokchyan hit a layup to bring F&M within a point, 65-64, with 8:19 remaining. Ryan Pelletier hit a trey at 8:01 to put the visitors up four, 68-64, which set up Gyokchyan's run.
Gyokchyan shot 14-for-21 from the floor, went 6-for-9 from the stripe, and collected nine boards. Milligan found himself in early foul trouble in both halves and was limited to just 18 minutes of action. The senior made the best of his time with 14 points and three assists. Morgan Lee and Jon Salandra both tallied eight points and Matt Porter finished with nine. Salandra pulled downed a team-high 11 boards for F&M.
After scoring 54 points the night before, Brooks was limited to 22 points as he faced the top defense in the country. Michael Kennedy scored 14 points for the Colonials and Mobilio finished with 10.
F&M held a 41-30 advantage on the glass while outshooting Western Connecticut 56% to 40%.
F&M should find out where it travels Monday afternoon. Stay tuned to GoDiplomats.com for the latest updates.
FRANKLIN & MARSHALL 82, WESTERN CONNECTICUT 72
WESTERN CONNECTICUT (21-7)
DaQuan Brooks 6-22 7-11 22; Michael Kennedy 4-7 2-2 14; Shawn Mobilio 3-5 3-4 10; Gary Robinson 4-8 0-0 9; Ryan Pelletier 2-6 0-0 6; Mark Redding 2-5 1-1 5; Michael Jensen 2-5 0-2 4; James Barnes 1-1 0-0 2; Luis Bridtter 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-60 13-20 72.
FRANKLIN & MARSHALL (27-2)
Hayk Gyokchyan 14-21 6-9 34; Georgio Milligan 5-10 4-5 14; Matt Porter 4-5 1-3 9; Jon Salandra 4-5 0-0 8; Morgan Lee 4-9 0-0 8; Ed Early 1-2 2-4 4; Max Brewer 1-2 0-0 3; Brandon Beckford 1-7 0-0 2. Totals 34-61 13-21 82.
Western Connecticut........... 36 36 - 72
Franklin & Marshall........... 47 35 - 82
3-point goals--Western Connecticut 11-32 (Michael Kennedy 4-6; DaQuan Brooks 3-13; Ryan Pelletier 2-5; Gary Robinson 1-4; Shawn Mobilio 1-2; Michael Jensen 0-2), Franklin & Marshall 1-6 (Max Brewer 1-1; Georgio Milligan 0-2; Matt Porter 0-1; Hayk Gyokchyan 0-2).
Fouled out--Western Connecticut-None, Franklin & Marshall-None.
Rebounds--Western Connecticut 30 (Gary Robinson 12), Franklin & Marshall 41 (Jon Salandra 11).
Assists--Western Connecticut 9 (DaQuan Brooks 4), Franklin & Marshall 16 (Max Brewer 4).
Total fouls--Western Connecticut 20, Franklin & Marshall 16.
Technical fouls--Western Connecticut-None, Franklin & Marshall-None.