And just like that, the Bryant Bulldogs are back on track. On Friday afternoon the Bulldogs defeated Saint Francis Red Flash 72-63 to move to 10-3 overall and 6-2 in NEC play. This is Jared Grasso’s first win at Loretto as the head coach of the program and it is the program’s first win at Saint Francis since 2012-13. This is a nice bounce-back win for the Bulldogs who fell to Saint Francis 89-82 on Thursday night.
“I will give a lot of credit to the sage we brought,” said Bryant Bulldogs Head Coach Jared Grasso on the win. “Got rid of the demons and all the bad spirits so our guys were a lot more of a place of ease today to compete.”
Leading the way for Bryant was Peter Kiss who scored a game-high 22 points and went 7-for-12 from the field and 4-for-6 from downtown. Behind Kiss was Michael Green III who scored 16 points. Green was only 3-for-11 from the field but came thru in the clutch going 8-for-8 from the line. The guard also played a game-high 39 minutes.
“Yeah, Pete (Kiss) wasn’t going to lose today,” said Grasso when asked about Kiss hitting timely shots. “He grabbed me after shoot-around and apologized for his performance yesterday. He wasn’t happy with the way he played. He watched the whole game last night back at the hotel. He was a monster today. He put us on his back and made some big-time plays.”
Big man Hall Elisias came up big for the Bulldogs as well. Elisias had a Division I program record 20 rebounds. Elisias also tallied nine points and a game-high three blocks.
“I would say today’s win was a testament to how resilient we are as a group,” said Bryant Forward Hall Elisias. “We knew going into today’s game we were going to have to give 100% effort, or 110% effort to beat these guys on the road. We haven’t done that in 10+ games. We want to be that team to finally get that done. I felt like last game we kind of came out a little too tight. But today, we came out flying and were just ourselves.”
red flash can’t buy a three, bulldogs sloppy with the ball
Bryant shot 37.5% from the field and 41.7% from downtown. As for the Red Flash, they shot 37.0% from the field but shot a lowly 13.6% from three. Saint Francis had open shots in transition but failed to capitalize on their opportunities. The Bulldogs were also sloppy with the ball with 15 turnovers compared to Saint Francis’s nine.
Typically the Bulldogs have a run and gun fast-paced attack but on Friday they slowed things down in the second half. Slowing things down and setting up their offense. This allowed for Michael Green III to manage the game on the court and keep the Red Flash at bay.
While Saint Francis may only be 1-4 on the NEC season it is driven more by injuries than a lack of talent. Last season Saint Francis University went 13-5 and has been one of the better teams in the NEC over the years. So make no mistake, going 1-1 on the two-game road trip is a good outcome for the Bulldogs.
“That is all we talked about,” said Grasso on the team showing grit. “We had to play desperate today. For us, we are trying to become a championship team. We thought of this as a game that was a must win for us to put ourselves in a position to keep climbing the standings. We are almost halfway thru league play and team’s are starting to find their groove.”
Next up the Bulldogs will hit the road once again this time traveling to Hackensack New Jersey to take on Fairleigh Dickinson. That won’t be for two weeks however with the first of two slated for January 30th.
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