FRANKLIN, IND.- The broken record made another revolution for the 1996-97 Tigers as one more poor shooting evening spelled a loss for the Old Gold. This time it was a hot shooting Franklin College squad that knocked off the Tigers, 67-53.
Franklin scored the first six points of the game to set the stage in the contest they never trailed. The Tigers pulled to within 14-12 after Jack Kidd's layup, but the hosts went on a 9-1 run to take their first double-digit lead of the game. DePauw trailed 29-20 at the break which wasn't all that bad considering they shot 28 percent from the floor and Franklin connected on 50 percent.
After trailing 33-24 in the opening minutes of the second half, the Tigers scored five straight on a pair of Kidd free throws and Jason Kreag's three-pointer. Franklin got the lead back to nine before what make have been the telling possession of the game. The Tigers were playing tough, hustling defense and forced the ball out-of-bounds with one second on the shot clock. Franklin's Bart Hunter took the inbound pass and quickly buried a three-pointer and just as quickly Franklin had its biggest lead of the game at 44-32 with 13:08 remaining.
The Tigers still made one more run and closed to 49-42 on a pair of Brad Stevens free throws with 8:03 left. Two Grizzly buckets pushed the lead back to 11 before the frustrations of the game and maybe the season came down on senior all-America candidate Ryan Hooker. After Jack Kidd was whistled for his third foul, Hooker was slapped with a technical for anger directed toward himself not at the officials. The Grizzlies made all four free throws to knock out the Tigers.
Just how tough of a shooting night was it for the Tigers? By the coaching staff's count they connected on just 11 of 29 inside shots several of which were blown layups.
"As I look at this team, we're getting some opportunities that we've never had teams get before," a frustrated Coach Bill Fenlon said. "I don't know if it's a lack of concentration or toughness or we have no confidence whatsoever. I happen to think that it takes more ability to get the ball in that position than it does to actually put it in the basket."
For the second straight game, Kreag was the lone double-figure scorer with 13 including four three-pointers. Hooker finished with a game-high seven rebounds, but only nine points in his second straight sub double-figure game.
Culley DeGroote came off the bench to score 15 and Marc Steczyk finished with 13. The Grizzlies shot 52 percent for the game and 55 percent in the second half.
"I thought we made bad decisions on their inside guys early and then we had to extend and gave them some points at the end," Fenlon said.
With the loss the Tigers (12-11) slipped, temporarily, into sixth place at 5-6. Franklin improved to 14-7 overall and moved into third place at 6-5 in ICAC games.
The Tigers host Hanover on Saturday evening on Senior Night and need a win to have a chance to host an ICAC first round game. Tipoff for the final regular season contest is 7:30 p.m.