SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Sophomore guard Dyami Starks (Duluth, Minn.) tied his career-high with 25 first-half points to lead the Bryant University men's basketball team to a 78-56 victory over Binghamton University Saturday afternoon at the Chace Athletic Center.
The performance marked Starks's third-straight outing with 20 points or more and the guard's fourth such showing in the last five games. Juniors Corey Maynard (Adelaide, Australia) and Alex Francis (Harlem, N.Y.) each chipped in 12 points for the Bulldogs (5-3), who outrebounded the Bearcats (2-8), 40-32.
Bryant shot 48.2 percent on the day after a .667 clip in the first half and dumped in a season-high 12 treys to finish at 52.2 percent from downtown. Maynard led the home side with a game-best eight rebounds while he and senior guard Frankie Dobbs (Berea, Ohio) both dished out a contest-high five assists in Bryant's fifth victory in the last six games.
Binghamton was led by 15 points from Jordan Reed, who tied Maynard's eight boards, and 14 more from Jimmy Gray. The Bearcats shot 36.5 percent from the field and were just 5-of-18 from beyond the arc while going 13-for-26 from the free throw line.
The Bulldogs took the lead early on and never let up, taking a 13-5 advantage six minutes into the game on a Francis dunk, forcing Binghamton to burn an early timeout.
The next eight Bulldog points would come from Starks, including back-to-back treys from each side of the arc, to give the home side a 21-7 lead with 12 minutes to play. The guard would start the frame a perfect 6-for-6 from the floor and 4-for-4 from 3-point range to score 17 points in the opening 9:34 of the contest.
With Starks's fifth triple of the half, Bryant doubled up the Bearcats, 44-22, as the clock ticked down to the three-minute mark, and he would hit another for a 47-28 advantage with 1:23 remaining before the break.
Rookie Shane McLaughlin (Old Tappan, N.J.) – who scored a personal-best six points in his first-career start – would knock down a long jumper with just seconds on the clock to send the Black and Gold into halftime with a 51-30 advantage.
As a team, Bryant was on fire from beyond the arc in the half, going 8-for-14 (57.1 percent) as a unit on the back of Starks's 6-of-7 clip, while the Black and Gold shot a season-high 66.7 percent from the floor in the stanza.
In the second half, the Bulldogs struggled from the field with their regulars out of the lineup for the majority of the frame – to the tune of just 31 percent shooting – but the Bearcats couldn't make up any ground, shooting just 33.3 percent themselves in the session.
Bryant emptied its bench as the minutes ticked on and saw rookie Curtis Oakley (South Euclid, Ohio) and junior Tim McKinney (Duxbury, Mass.) score the first points of their collegiate careers, with the former knocking one down from 3-point range with 7:42 to play to up Bryant's lead to 70-42 (five points on the day). Seniors Erick Smith (Bel Air, Md.), Daniel Calandrillo (Leonardo, N.J.) and Raphael Jordan (Bel Air, Md.), and sophomore Patrick Matthews (Waipahu, Hawaii) all saw time as well.
Bryant's 40 rebounds marked the team's season-best performance on the glass, as were its 20 assists and .522 shooting mark from long range. The Bulldogs are now 2-0 against the America East in 2012-13 and 3-0 against Binghamton all time.
Bryant must now turn its attention to its next opponent in a tough Navy squad in a short turnaround game. The Bulldogs take on the Midshipmen in Annapolis, Md., Monday night (7 p.m.).