Hornets finish strong in 49-37 win over Lions
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
The best thing about the Bryant Hornets’ 49-37 win over the Hamburg Lions (besides the win itself) may have been the fact that, after building a big first-half lead and seeing the visitors rally, the Hornets quelled that comeback, settled in and finished off the victory.
The team, which improved to 5-3 with the win, played about as well as they have this season starting with a 23-point eruption in the first quarter and building a lead of as much as 20 before settling for a 35-20 halftime advantage. Hamburg, sparked by swingman Rodney Brown, whittled the lead down to 8 in the third quarter but could get no closer.
‘The first half was really good,” stated coach Mark Smith whose team was playing at home for the first time since Nov. 16. “We played with a lot of energy, a lot of emotion, a lot of fire, a lot of unselfishness. The difference between the first half and the second half was energy. We just kind of went out in a lull. Maybe we were content with what we had done.
“But we knew coming out at halftime they weren’t going to give up,” he added. “They were going to try to chip away at it. And they did.
“Our guys did answer,” Smith continued. “I think we showed a lot of composure late. I liked the way the guys finished. We hit our free throws down the stretch. We hit the open man under the goal against a lot of pressure, we found the open guy and we converted. We rode out a rough wave then got back on track and took care of business.”
Chad Knight led the Hornets with 17 points. Zach Lewis and Hunter Sample added 9 each.
Brown had 19 for Hamburg but 3-point bomber Jarvarius Curtis was held to 8.
Each of the five Bryant starters had scored 2 points as they got out to a 10-2 start. Lewis hit a shot inside forcing a Hamburg timeout with 5:33 left in the first quarter. At that point, the Hornets were 4 of 4 from the field and 4 of 4 from the line.
Curtis drove for a layup when play resumed but Knight canned a 3 and, after Matt Webb scored for the Lions, Sample came through with a three-point play off a nice feed from Lewis to make it 18-6.
Hamburg closed to within 20-13 late in the period but Knight, taking a kick-out from Tim Floyd, nailed another triple to make it 23-13 going into the second period.
Sample blocked a shot and Brandon Coward drove for a layup. The Hornets forced a turnover and Knight hit a layup, extending the margin to 14.
After a basket by Randy Brown for the Lions, Andrew Tilley buried back-to-back 3’s and when Lewis followed a missed free throw by Hamburg with a drive to the rack, the Hornets led 35-15 with 2:19 left in the half.
The Hornets managed just 5 points in the third quarter, however, and when Rodney Brown posted up for a bucket with 2:06 left in the period, it pulled his team within 38-30.
But Cowart fed Sample for a layup moments later and the 40-30 lead held going into the final period.
Dijon Benton hit the offensive glass and was fouled early in the fourth quarter. His free throws extended the margin once again. After Rodney Brown scored, Knight got a stickback, Sample blocked another shot and Cowart fed Knight for his third trey of the game to make it 47-32, too much for the Lions to overcome.
“I thought Dijon came in and gave us that spurt of energy that we needed,” Smith said. “I thought that Hunter did some things good. The first half, I thought Andrew Tilley came off the bench and helped us with a couple of big shots and, of course, Chad Knight’s pretty steady. And I thought Brandon delivered the ball really well. In the second half, he and Zach both kind of tried to push it a little bit too much, tried to make that pass that maybe wasn’t quite there in the second half like it was in the first. But, you know, Hamburg picked it up quite a bit.”
The Hornets were set to close out the pre-Christmas schedule at Sheridan on Tuesday, Dec. 11, and at home against Benton on Friday, Dec. 14.