Bulldogs thwarted on road, fall to QU

Bryant Release

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Despite trailing for much of the contest, the
Bryant University men's basketball team made Saturday's matchup
interesting midway through the second frame, closing its deficit to just
three points, but Quinnipiac's defense and rebounding advantage was too
much for the Bulldogs to overcome, falling to the Bobcats, 69-58, on
the road at the TD Bank Sports Center.

Zaid Hearst would turn a 27-19 halftime advantage into a game-high
14-point lead for Quinnipiac (14-13, 10-5 Northeast Conference) with
consecutive 3-pointers to open the second stanza, capitalizing on a
Bulldog (17-9, 10-5) turnover to maintain the momentum after a
Bobcat-dominated first half.

Sophomore Dyami Starks (Duluth, Minn.)
would cut the lead to six points, 35-29, with a triple with 16:33 to
go, but Bryant wouldn't get that close again for nearly eight full
minutes. A turnover and foul on Ousmane Drame with just over nine
minutes to play allowed the Bulldogs to cut the hosts lead to 46-39,
sparking a 9-2 Bryant run capped off by consecutive trifectas from
senior point guard Frankie Dobbs (Berea, Ohio) to bring the Bulldogs within a single possession, 48-45, with 8:10 remaining in the contest.

Evan Conti would respond with a three of his own, though, and the
teams would trade baskets over the next four minutes to keep
Quinnipiac's lead at six, 60-54, with 3:45 showing on the clock.

With time running out, the Bulldogs turned to their outside game to
make up points, but Quinnipiac pulled in the rebound on each miss,
forcing the Bulldogs to stop the clock and send the Bobcats to the free
throw line. Quinnipiac would go just 7-for-12 from the charity stripe in
the final two minutes, but it would be enough to keep the Bulldogs at
bay.

Dobbs would pace the Black and Gold with 15 points and add six rebounds while junior Alex Francis (Harlem, N.Y.)
added 14 points and a side-high seven rebounds on the outing. Starks
also finished the day in double figures with 11 points. Ike Azotam and
Shaq Shannon led Quinnipiac and the game with 16 points apiece.

After shooting just 25.8 percent and scoring only 19 points in the
opening frame — the Bulldogs' lowest scoring output in a half this
season – the visitors shot 55.6 percent for 39 second-half points to
finish the day at a 39.7 percent clip. Quinnipiac also shot better in
the second stanza, hitting 54.2 percent for a 43.9 percent mark at day's
end.

The Bobcats owned the boards all afternoon, taking a 43-30 margin on
the glass while pulling in 14 offensive rebounds, led by nine from
Azotam (four offensive) and Drame (6). The Bulldogs turned the ball over
15 times under Quinnipiac's tough defensive pressure, while the Bobcats
suffered 13 giveaways.

The home team's pressure inside kept the Bulldogs from getting a
clean look at the basket all afternoon, particularly in the opening 20
minutes. After the game's opening bucket, the Bulldogs trailed until the
10:42 mark, when Starks drained a three from just beyond the arc for
the visitors' first edge of the game, 11-10.

But the Bobcats would take it back 1:20 later off a triple from
Shannon and outscored the Bulldogs, 9-4, to bring the clock below the
five-minute mark with a 19-15 advantage.

The Bulldogs would close the margin to two, 19-17, on a Francis layup
with 3:14 left in the frame but would score just once more in the
stanza as Quinnipiac built an eight-point lead – it's largest of the
half – to take a 27-19 advantage into the halftime break.

The Bulldogs will return home for the last three games of the 2012-13
regular season, all to be played next week, in search of their
first-ever Northeast Conference playoff berth. Bryant will open the
final stretch Monday night against Sacred Heart, as the Pioneers visit
the Chace Athletic Center for a 7 p.m. makeup game previously postponed
by Winter Storm Nemo.