On Saturday in Emmitsburg, Maryland the Bryant Bulldogs took on Mount St. Mary’s in NEC play. Despite leading 43-40 at the half and keeping it close for much of the game the Bulldogs fell to The Mount 76-79 with St. Mary’s closing things out in the final minutes of the second half. With the loss, Bryant falls to 10-10 overall and 2-5 in conference play.
The Bulldogs kept things close in the first half aided by 10 three-pointers including a Julan Cardenas buzzer-beater that gave Jarred Grasso’s team a three-point edge heading into the locker room.
Our th three of the half beats the and sends us into the locker room with a fitting three-point lead.Watch on @NECFrontRow: https://t.co/vApENOwdvk#12Seven4 | #NECMBB pic.twitter.com/jaVeXtkkqw— Bryant Men's Basketball (@BryantHoops) January 25, 2020
Bryant was able to extend that lead to six in the opening minutes of the second half but a 9-0 run by The Mount put the Bulldogs behind. Both sides swapped lead changes throughout the second half and Bryant actually held a 68-66 lead with less than five minutes to play.
The Mount was able to take the lead with under four minutes to play. Bryant cut the lead to one point and with 25.6 seconds to play the Bulldogs thought they had a shot in for the lead. But Hall Elisias had his go-ahead lay-up was waved off for a shot clock violation keeping the game at 74-73. St. Mary’s pushed their lead to 77-73 shortly thereafter but the Bulldogs fought back with a Michael Green three making it a one-point game with 2.1 seconds left on the clock.
Unfortunately, Bryant wasn’t able to force a turnover on the inbound and Mount St. Mary’s was able to come away with a 79-76 win. This was the 10th game this season that was decided by four points or less, Bryant is now 4-6 in those contests.
Adam Grant 26
Juan Cardenas 20
Benson Lin 8
Michael Green III 5
Ikenna Ndugba 5
Patrick Harding, Adam Grant, Benson Lin 2
Ikenna Ndugba 9
Patrick Harding 6
Charles Pride, Juan Cardenas 3
As a team, the Bulldogs shot 53.8% from the field and 54.2% from downtown. Despite hitting 10 threes (15 shots) in the first half the Bulldogs only managed to hit three (9 shots) in the second half with the St. Mary’s defense protecting the perimeter.
Bryant was also able to outrebound Mount St. Marys 30-28 and 17-14 in the second half.
Realistically hitting 59.3% from the field and 66.7% from downtown in the first half isn’t a feasible clip for an entire game. Bryant shot 48.0% from the field in the second half and just 33.3% from downtown. Where this game dropped out was Bryant’s misses at the free-throw line. They went 6-13 or 46.2% from the stripe in the second half.
Bryant returns to action on Thursday when they travel to Moon Township, Pennsylvania when they take on Robert Morris. Morris will be heading into the matchup off a 71-66 win against LIU on Saturday. This is the only time the Bulldogs will play Robert Morris in the 2019-20 season.
Bryant desperately needs to get things moving in the right direction in NEC play. 2-5 in NEC play is rough and if the Bulldogs hope to play playoff basketball they will need to get things on track quickly. That being said Bryant year-over-year has taken strides. Last year the Bulldogs went 10-20 and at this point in the season, they are already up to ten wins and are 10-10. This is the first time the program is .500 or better through the first 20 games of a season since 2014-15.
Currently, Bryant sits in 8th place in the NEC with the current leader being 7-1 Merrimack followed by Robert Morris at 6-2.
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