Bryant University Press Release
SMITHFIELD, R.I. – In a true battle that took all 40 minutes to determine a victor, the Bryant University men's basketball team grinded out its third-straight victory, 78-75, over Mount St. Mary's Saturday afternoon at the Chace Athletic Center.
Behind another huge performance from senior forward Alex Francis (Harlem, N.Y.), the Bulldogs (16-9, 8-2 Northeast Conference) take the first of a home-and-away with the ever-menacing Mountaineers (10-13, 6-4 NEC).
A deep Byron Ashe 3-pointer knotted the game up, 71-71, with just over three minutes to play, erasing what was at one point a 10-point Bryant lead. Junior swingman Joe O'Shea (Burlington, Vt.) answered ninety seconds later with a huge trifecta from straight away, to start a 5-1 Bryant run that put the Bulldogs up 76-72 with just over a minute to play.
Seconds later, Rashad Whack buried a clutch 3-pointer from the wing to bring The Mount within a single point, 76-75. After Francis hit 1-of-2 from the line, the Mountaineers were unable to convert on their final possession and were forced to foul sending senior guard Corey Maynard (Adelaide, Australia) to line to secure the huge 78-75 victory for the Black and Gold.
Francis led all scorers with 25 points to go along with nine boards and a pair of steals (has scored 20+ in 10 of last 11 games), while junior guard Dyami Starks (Duluth, Minn.) and Maynard each put up 16 points with Starks adding six rebounds and five assists and Maynard chipping in seven boards. Bryant's three-headed monster combined for 57 points (of 78) and 22 rebounds (of 37) on the afternoon.
O'Shea rounded out the double-digit Bryant scorers with 10 points and four rebounds while sophomore guard Shane McLaughlin (Old Tappan, N.J.) finished with seven points, four rebounds and two assists.
Taylor Danaher led Mount's four double-figure scorers with 19 points and 12 rebounds while Whack added 21 points on 6-of-8 shooting from deep. Julian Norfleet and Ashe added 14 and 11, respectively.
The Black and Gold shot 53 percent from the field, including 42 percent from behind the 3-point arc while The Mount finished with 42 percent and 39 percent clip, respectively.
A strong move and finish to the basket by Maynard at the 9:26 mark sparked a 7-0 run that granted the Bulldogs a 22-16 lead, their largest of the game, with 7:42 remaining in the first half. Over the course of the final minutes of the opening frame, the Bryant offensive came to a standstill and the Mountaineers took advantage, taking a brief one-point lead, until a pair of Francis free throws pushed Bryant back out front, 34-33, at the break.
In a first half that featured three times and eight lead changes, Starks and Francis led all scorers with 10 points and four rebounds apiece with Maynard chipping in seven in 18 minutes of play. Whack and Norfleet paced The Mount with eight points each.
The Mountaineers opened the second half with a strong push that put the visitors out front, 39-36, less than 90 seconds into the frame until a 14-0 run propelled the Black and Gold back into the driver's seat through the under-16 media break.
Bryant maintained its double-figure advantage through the 12-minute mark behind some truly stellar play on the defensive end until back-to-back 3-pointers from Whack brought The Mount back within eight, 62-54, with nine minutes left on the clock.
The lead grew back to double digits until a 14-6 run, capped by a Norfleet layup, tied the contest, 68-68, until McLaughlin took it coast-to-coast to push Bryant back out front with under four minutes to play.
The two teams traded buckets down the stretch but some big plays for the Bulldogs secured the big Bryant victory, 78-75.
Bryant will have a few days before flying to Emmitsburg, Md., for a rematch with Mount St. Mary's Thursday night at 7 p.m.