Charles Pride Clutch at the Line, Bryant Punches Ticket to Second Straight NEC Championship
Charles Pride scored 16 of Bryant’s final 22 points, including a free throw with 0.8 seconds remaining to break a 69-69 tie and send the top-seeded Bulldogs back to the Northeast Conference Championship with a 70-69 victory over fourth-seeded Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday night at the Chace Athletic Center.
With the win, the Bulldogs advance to the NEC Championship and will host second-seeded Wagner College on Tuesday night at the Chace Athletic Center. Tip is set for 7:00 p.m.
On Saturday night, Pride helped the Bulldogs erase an eight-point deficit with 8:03 to go. Luis Hurtado Jr. hit a three from the right wing to make it a two-point game and Pride hit four free throws to give the Bulldogs a two-point lead with 55 seconds left. On the ensuing inboud, Pride stole the ball and laid it in to give Brynat a four-point lead. Hall Elisias then sank 3-of-4 from the line but a Malik Jefferson dunk with 10 seconds left tied the game at 69-69.
Bryant drove down the floor and the initial shot by Peter Kiss caromed off but Pride was there to grab the rebound. He went up and was fouled with 0.8 seconds left on the clock. After missing the first free throw, Pride calmly sank the second to send the Chace Athletic Center into a frenzy.
Pride finished with a double-double, scoring a game-high 24 points and adding 10 rebounds. He was 13-of-15 from the free throw line. Kiss posted 16 points, Hall Elisias had 13 points, six rebounds and three blocks and Hurtado posted a career-high 14 points.
Bryant 70, Mount St. Mary’s 69
Records: Bryant 21-9 | Mount St. Mary’s 14-16
Location: Chace Athletic Center (Smithfield, R.I.)
Pride grabbed a defensive rebound and charged down the floor and got fouled. He hit two free throws to break a 62-62 tie and then stole the inbounds and laid it in to make it a four-point game with 55 seconds left.
Pride would then grab an offensive rebond with 1.8 seconds left and get fouled with 0.8. He hit the second free throw to give Bryant a 70-69 victory.
How it Happened
Mount made the first basket of the game but Elisias answered with back-to-back mid-range jumpers.
The game would get to 11-11 when Kiss rattled off five-straight points for the Bulldogs. He hit a three from the top and then buried a pretty jumper over his defender from the wing to make it 16-13 with 11:00 to play.
Mount would retake the lead at 17-16 before Adham Eleeda pump-faked his defender before hitting a corner triple.
The Mountaineers would take the lead again before Pride ripped off four quick points to give the Bulldogs a 29-27 lead.
A three-point play from Pride moments later made it 32-30.
Kiss converted a layup with 38 seconds left to give Bryant a 37-34 lead into the break.
Mount came out of halftime on fire, rattling off a 12-1 run to take a 46-38 lead with 15:35 left.
Layups from Hurtado and Kiss helped Bryant cut it to 47-46 but the Mount answered with an 11-4 run to make it 58-50 with 8:03 left.
Pride hit a stepback three out of the timeout to get the ball rolling and his two free throws with 4:03 left put Bryant down five.
The Bulldogs forced a turnover on the Mount inbounds and Hurtado drilled an open three from the right wing to make it a two-point game.
Mount would then miss its next six shots as the Bulldogs rattled off a 9-0 run. Pride hit four free throws to give Bryant the lead and then stole the inbounds and laid it in with 55 seconds left.
Mount made it interesting with a three with 21 seconds left. After Elisias made 1-of-2 from the line, Jefferson tied the game with a slam underneath.
Kiss then carried the ball upcourt and cut to the basket. His attempt was no good but Pride found the ball in a scrum and went up with it and was fouled with 0.8 seconds left. He hit the second of two free throws to secure the victory.
Bryant finished 20-of-52 (38.5 percent) from the field, 5-of-21 (23.8 percent) from three and 25-of-29 (86.2 percent) from the line.
Bryant outrebounded Mount, 40-24.
Pride finished with 24 points and 10 rebounds. He was 5-of-16 from the field but made 13-of-15 free throws.
Kiss added 16 points, three rebounds and three assists in a full 40 minutes.
Hurtado posted 14 points and six rebounds. He was 5-of-6 from the field and 2-of-2 from three.
Elisias posted 13 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
Bryant advances to the NEC Championship for the second-straight season.
The Bulldogs avenged last year’s championship game loss to the Mount.
The Bulldogs won all three meetings against Mount this year.
Bryant improves to 2-1 in the NEC Semifinals.
Bryant is now 13-1 at home this year. The Bulldogs are 23-2 at home the last two years.
The announced crowd of 2,650 was a sellout. It is the third-straight game the Chace has sold out.
Kiss posted his 44th double-figure scoring game in 47 outings as a Bulldog.
Kiss leads the nation in scoring with 24.7 points per game.
Kiss now has 618 points this season, the second-most in a single season in DI program history.
Pride scored 20+ points for the fourth-straight game and the 12th time this season.
Pride posted his ninth double-double of the year and the 15th of his career.
Pride scored in double figures for the 53rd time in his career.
Pride now has 250 rebounds this season, the fourth-most in DI program history.
Pride now has 1,083 career points.
Kiss and Pride continue to be the nation’s highest-scoring duo, averaging 42.9 points per game.
Hurtado scored a career-high 14 points in the contest.
Elisias blocked three shots and now has 199 career blocks at Bryant.
Bryant will host Wagner in the NEC Championship on Tuesday night. Tip is set for 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2.