Bryant Fights Off Late CCSU Comeback To Win At Home

Bryant University Press Release

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Senior guard Corey Maynard (Adelaide, Australia)
netted his 1,000th career point in the early minutes of the second half
and finished the day with a game-high 21 points, leading the Bryant
University men's basketball team to a 68-65 victory over Central
Connecticut Saturday afternoon at home on Senior Day.

The Bulldogs (17-11, 9-4 Northeast Conference) saw four finish in
double figures in the regular-season home finale, including a
season-high 19 from junior Joe O'Shea (Burlington, Vt.), 10 from sophomore Shane McLaughlin (Old Tappan, N.J.) and 12 from senior forward Alex Francis (Harlem, N.Y.), who also pulled in a season-best 13 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season (35th of career).

Three Blue Devils (9-18, 5-9) finished in double digits, paced by 19
points from Kyle Vinales. Brandon Peel added nine boards and 12 points,
with Faronte Drakeford pitching in 14 on the day.

The Bulldogs saw their first double-digit lead come with eight to
play in the first half, and O'Shea's first dunk of the year – a slam
that came off a breakaway thanks to a Francis steal in the defensive end
– extended the home team's lead to 27-14. Ultimately, Bryant controlled
play throughout the first half, thanks mostly to a 28-9 run that
stretched more than 10 minutes to take a 20-point, 39-19, lead with
three minutes still to go in the first.

The Black and Gold would head into the locker room at the
intermission sporting a 41-22 advantage on the back of 14 O'Shea points
and nine Francis rebounds. The Bulldogs shot better than 51 percent in
the frame.

Maynard opened the second with a career milestone in the early
minutes of the frame, scoring on a breakaway layup at the 16:19 mark to
become the second Bulldog this season to join the elite 1,000-point
club, giving Bryant the 50-30 lead in the process.

But Bryant would score just once more over the next 3:45, as Central
Connecticut unleashed a 14-2 stretch that closed the gap to single
digits, 52-44, with 12:34 left to play. An O'Shea triple seconds later
restored the hosts' double-figure lead, but not for long, as Drakeford
scored six of CCSU's eight-straight points to cut the Bulldogs' lead
back to five, 55-50, with just under 10 minutes remaining in regulation
time.

The margin would dwindle to four, 57-53, with 7:39 left on the clock,
but neither team could find room in the hoop over the next three
minutes, keeping the scoreboard stagnant entering the final five of the
game.

A Francis dunk invigorated the home crowd and put the Bulldogs up,
65-58, entering the final two minutes, but Drakeford changed the game
with 30 seconds to go, dropping in a three to cut Bryant's lead to just
two points, 65-63. But the Bulldogs would hit their free throws down the
stretch, holding on for the 68-65 victory.

Francis added a career-best six assists to his Senior Day effort, while rookie Dan Garvin (Bethel, Conn.)
chipped in three blocks with four points and four rebounds. The
Bulldogs shot 46.6 percent on the game to CCSU's 40.4 percent clip.
Bryant won the battle on the glass as well, 39-33.

The Bulldogs now have just one day off before returning to the court
for their third game in five days. Bryant will take on Mount St. Mary's
Monday at 8:30 p.m. in Emmitsburg, Md.