Bryant Loses to LIU Brooklyn as Blackbirds Cruise to Victory

Bryant news release…

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University men’s basketball team was derailed by a 25-9 visitor run to close out the first half, as LIU Brooklyn controlled the pace of the game and cruised to a 79-61 Northeast Conference victory Saturday afternoon in the Chace Athletic Center.  

Freshman forward Marcel Pettway (North Providence, R.I.) continued to impress, tallying his second-straight and fifth-career double-double with 20 points on 10-of-14 shooting and a game-best 10 boards. Sophomore guard Hunter Ware (Powder Springs, Ga.) and freshman wing Nisre Zouzoua (Brockton, Mass.) netted 14 and 13 points, respectively, combining for five triples in the loss. The Bulldogs (7-12, 4-2 NEC) shot just 36.9 percent from the floor (24-65) and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc (7-21).

Trevon Woods led the Blackbirds (9-8, 3-3) with 20 points and a contest-best six three-pointers, as 10 of his 11 shots were from long range. Aakim Saintil netted 16 points on a 60 percent effort from the floor to go along with four boards and four assists, while Martin Hermannsson added 11 points and dished out a game-high eight dimes. Joel Hernandez and Jerome Frink scored 15 and 12 points, respectively, both corralling a team-leading seven caroms. The Blackbirds drained 49 percent of their shots from the floor (26-53) and 40 percent from downtown (10-25).

The Blackbirds came out hot, connecting on four of their first five shot attempts to take a 10-6 edge at the 15:37 mark of the opening frame. Zouzoua drilled a corner triple following the first media timeout, then a Pettway putback gave Bryant what was ultimately its only lead, 11-10, with 14:11 to play in the frame.

The contest featured four standstills over the next five minutes of action. With the contest tied at the 7:20 mark of the opening frame, 19-19, the Blackbirds swished four-consecutive triples, three of which were courtesy of Woods, to take a 31-22 lead with just 5:30 to play in the opening 20. The margin got up to 17, as the visitors used a 25-9 run over the final 7:45 of the first stanza to take a commanding 44-28 advantage into the half.  

The Bulldogs opened the second half with a 7-0 run that was capped off by a Zouzoua corner triple to bring the deficit to single digits, 44-35, just two minutes into the stanza.

After the two sides exchanged a pair of makes from the charity stripe, Saintil sank a trey to kick start a 7-0 Blackbird run which brought their lead back to double-figures, making it 53-37 with 15:13 to go in the second.   

The Bulldogs teased of a comeback, twice cutting the deficit to 12 points, but got no closer than 11 points, as the LIU lead extended to as great as 20 and did not dip below 14 over the final 6:45 of play. The Blackbirds held the edge for the last 27:20 of action, and led for a total of 33:40, as they handed Bryant its second conference loss of the season.

The Bulldogs will remain in Smithfield, playing on Thursday against Saint Francis University. The matchup with the Red Flash is scheduled to tip off at 7:00 p.m. from the Chace Athletic Center.