Franklin Pierce University won the NCAA regional title and captured 24 wins, the second-most in program history, before the season came to end against Metro State, 78-65, in the 2013 NCAA Division II Elite Eight at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky., on Thursday afternoon.
The Ravens trailed throughout the second half and climbed back to take the lead on Ryen Vilmont's 3-pointer with 5:08 remaining, but Metro State, of Denver, began pulling away with consecutive layups from Nicholas Kay (19 points).
Franklin Pierce played the final few minutes of the first half without junior forward Ellis Cooper, who sat down with a knee injury, and senior guard Eric Jean-Guillaume (ankle). Following Cooper's injury, Franklin Pierce struggled to score until Ant Lessane hit a baseline jumper, trimming Metro State's lead to 31-30. The Roadrunners (31-2) took a 35-30 lead into halftime. Cooper and Jean-Guillaume returned in the second half and sparked a late-game surge by the Ravens (24-9).
Curtis Christian scored a career-high 16 points, knocking down four 3-pointers, to lead the FPU offense. Cooper scored 12 points with eight rebounds, while Vilmont added 11 points and nine boards. Metro State, champions of the South Central Region, finished the game on a 10-0 run.
"I was happy with how hard we played. I didn't feel like we finished as well as we normally do around the basket," FPU coach David Chadbourne said. "Overall, I'm very happy with my kids and proud of them, not just for tonight but for the whole season."
Two-time Northeast-10 Conference Player of the Year Eric Jean-Guillaume, playing in his final college game, had nine points and five assists. Franklin Pierce will lose the services of a pair of seniors in Jean-Guillaume and Josh Jones of Salem High. Jean-Guillaume leaves the program ranked seventh all-time in scoring at 1,595 points and ranked third in steals at 241.