For just a few minutes Thursday night, the St. Francis men’s basketball team looked like it may be earning its fourth win of the season.

But, as quickly as they took a four-point lead in the second half, the Fairleigh-Dickinson Knights asserted control of the game and moved a step closer to a Northeast Conference postseason playoff berth with a 66-49 victory before 1,132 fans at the Maurice Stokes Athletic Center.

Down by just two at halftime, the Red Flash put together a 6-0 run to open the second half and take a 30-26 lead after freshman guard Marquis Ford hit back-to-back 3-pointers.

“I was just trying to give the team a spark,” Ford said. “I was just trying as hard as I could to help the offense.”

Ford scored a career-high 17 points to lead the Flash.

After falling behind by four, FDU (9-8, 6-2 in NEC) put together a monster run, 16-0, to build a 42-30 lead at the 11:39 mark of the second half.

The Knights managed to hold the Red Flash at bay the rest of the game.

“I was very concerned (about St. Francis) at halftime,” FDU coach Tom Green said. “They are undermanned and down personnel-wise, but Bobby (Jones) has them playing really hard.”

The Red Flash (3-17, 1-9) played with just seven healthy players.

The season has been especially difficult for the seniors.

“It is pretty tough, but it’s not the end of the world,” senior Rahsaan Benton said. “These (underclassmen) have a good future. But I have to try to focus on getting in the gym and keeping the guys and practices upbeat.”

Benton needs just 15 points to hit the 1,000-point mark in his career after scoring 12 against FDU.

The Knights’ dominance in the second half came after a change in emphasis.

“We started to go inside a lot more,” Green said. “Then Chad Timberlake had his second good game in a row. He had 32 the other night against Sacred Heart and has been playing really well for us.”

The Knights used 7-0, 260-pound junior center Andrea Crosariol and 6-9 forward Gordon Klaiber to provide a strong inside presence, building a 42-27 edge in rebounding for the game.

Chad Timberlake led the Knights in scoring with 23 points. Crosariol added 13 points for FDU and Michael Peeples had 12.

St. Francis will face Monmouth Saturday night at 7 at the Stokes Center, while FDU travels to Robert Morris.

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