Hornets hold coming-out party
EDITOR’S NOTE: Because the look back at each day in Bryant athletic history has been so favorably received during the time when there was no sports during the COVID-19 shutdown, BryantDaily.com will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on BryantDaily.com (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).
By ROB PATRICK
SHERIDAN — The Bryant Hornets’ game against the Sheridan Yellowjackets on Tuesday, Dec. 11, proved to be a coming out party to varying degrees for the three players that joined the game after the football season. And coaches Mark Smith and Chad Withers were glad to see it.
In fact, Tim Floyd, whose previous scoring high this season was 6 points, erupted for 26 to lead the Hornets to their 55-42 victory. Dijon Benton added 13, all in an explosion in the second quarter that helped the Hornets take control of the game. And Taylor Masters finished with a season-high 8 despite early foul trouble.
With Floyd and Benton hitting double figures that makes it seven different players at one time or another this season that have done that.
“They’re just going to get better and better,” asserted Withers. “ We’re excited about that and feel like when we really get everybody going at the same time, we’ll be pretty good.”
Floyd scored half of his points in the fourth quarter including an impressive dunk off a nice feed from Hunter Sample.
“We talked to Tim and he’s been pressing, putting too much pressure on himself,” Withers noted. “He’s been trying too hard a lot, mentally, and it was kind of slowing him down physically. We know what he can do. He’s just got to relax and play. And I thought he did that.
“Dijon really got some good looks in the second quarter and was able to knock them down,” he added.
The game was tied 9-9 after the first quarter and the Hornets were already battling foul trouble with two on Masters and two on Sample when Benton went off. Floyd had already stepped in and scored 5 points in the first quarter with some aggressive moves to the hoop. He got a tip-in to start the second period and give the Hornets the lead for good.
After a Sheridan turnover, Benton scored off a drive to make it 13-9. Sheridan’s Brett Pritchard (18 points, 10 rebounds) drove for a layup at the other end and it stayed a 2-point game for awhile before Floyd grabbed an offensive rebound, scored, absorbed a foul and completed the three-point play. Moments later, Benton hit the offensive glass for a bucket and, following another turnover, connected on a pair of free throws to make it 20-11.
After the Jackets’ Luke Thomas scored inside, Benton stepped up and canned a 3-pointer. He added a free throw at the 2:03 mark then drained another triple as the lead ballooned to 27-13.
Bryant led 27-18 at the half.
Benton, who started for ailing point guard Brandon Cowart, picked up his third foul early in the third quarter and came out. But his four fellow starters each added to the scoring. First, Zach Lewis drove for a layup then Sample fed Masters for an easy deuce. After Sheridan’s Chris Clinton scored, Knight took a feed from Sample and drove the baseline for the bucket to make it 33-20.
Sheridan’s Blaine Carter hit a 3 but a three-point play by Sample countered that with Cowart providing the assist.
Pritchard scored and added a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 8 but when Floyd trumped that with a three-point play on a drive from the high post, the Hornets had a 38-27 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The lead was never less than double digits after that and grew, at one point, to as much as a 21-point bulge.