SMITHFIELD, R.I. – One game after scoring his 1,000th-career point, junior Dyami Starks (Duluth, Minn.) eclipsed the 30-point mark for the fifth time this season, leading the Bryant University men's basketball team to an 83-79 win over St. Francis Brooklyn at the Chace Athletic Center Saturday afternoon.
Starks finished the day with a game-high 31 points and went 4-for-6 from beyond the arc to pace the Bulldogs (13-8, 5-1 Northeast Conference) to their fourth-straight victory. Senior Alex Francis (Harlem, N.Y.) would see his streak of six-straight 20-point outings come to an end when the forward fouled out for the first time this season with 4:05 left in the game, but he would leave his mark on the contest anyway, exiting with his second-straight double-double (fifth of the season, 31st of his career) on the back of 19 points and a season-high 12 rebounds. Senior Corey Maynard (Adelaide, Australia) also finished in double figures with 13 points, adding seven rebounds and going a perfect 9-for-9 from the line.
Brent Jones paced St. Francis (12-9, 3-3) with 20 points while Ben Mockford chipped in 17 and Anthony White added 13 more. Four Terriers would foul out of Saturday's contest, including leading scorer and preseason all-conference pick Jalen Cannon, who was limited to just nine points (9 rebounds).
St. Francis Brooklyn led throughout the opening 20 minutes but never took more than a seven-point edge. An evenly matched final 10 minutes saw the Terriers' advantage wane to two, 22-20, with 6:08 to play, and that margin was cut to one, 25-24, by a Joe O'Shea (Burlington, Vt.) baseline lay-in as the clock ticked under four to play.
Starks knotted the game with his second trey of the frame at the 2:16 mark, elevating over White to tie the score at 27-27. Mockford answered with a trey of his own, and the teams would trade three-point plays for a 33-30 St. Francis advantage with a minute left in the half.
Starks would stay perfect from long range and drain his third trifecta of the session, tying the game for the fourth time, 33-33, with 35 seconds remaining, but Jones got a jumper from the paint off with two ticks to go, sending the Terriers into halftime with a 35-33 edge.
The Bulldogs started out the second on a 10-3 run, taking their first lead of the contest off two Francis free throws 90 seconds in. The run would give Bryant a 43-38 advantage four minutes into the stanza, and the hosts would build a 50-43 lead after the opening nine minutes.
St. Francis pulled the Bulldogs back within a score quickly, 50-47, and a three from White tied up the game at the 8:12 mark, 56-56. The Bulldogs would use another run – this one 7-1 – to build back up their lead, 63-57, with 6:27 left to play.
A deep triple from Starks re-energized the crowd with 3:39 remaining in the contest and gave the home team the 67-60 lead, a margin that would grow to nine entering the final 90 seconds. Mockford hit a long three with 1:13 to go, but St. Francis would have to start fouling with 60 ticks to play.
The Bulldogs would hit their freebies, but the Terriers answered every time – twice with corner threes – to remain within four, 81-77, with 12.7 seconds on the clock. A foul on Starks on Bryant's own inbound allowed St. Francis to cut it to just two points, 81-79, with 10 seconds left, but Shane McLaughlin (Old Tappan, N.J.) would drain a pair from the line with just 8.7 remaining to seal the victory.
On the game, Bryant shot 44 percent from the floor and just under 80 percent from the charity stripe while going 4-for-15 from beyond the arc. St. Francis Brooklyn converted at a 40.6 percent clip, but hit only 53 percent of their chances from the free throw line. The Bulldogs ended up with the edge on the glass, 41-40.
Bryant returns to road action for its next three games and will head to Moon Township, Pa., Thursday night for an 8 p.m. rematch with Robert Morris. The game will be carried live on ESPNU.