Hornets survive Texarkana
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 good news for the Bryant Hornets on Friday, Feb. 8, was that the Texarkana Razorbacks were without Floyd Hayes. In the earlier meeting between the Hornets and Hogs, Hayes had scored 30 points in a 72-61 upset that was just the second win of the season for Texarkana and knocked Bryant out of first place in the AAAAA-South Conference.
The bad news for the Bryant Hornets on Friday, Feb. 8, was that Texarkana’s Chez Carr improved on Hayes’ night with 31 points.
The better news was that it wasn’t enough as the Hornets survived with a 48-46 win that dropped the pesky Razorbacks to 3-19 on the season, 2-8 in the league.
And the best news of all for the Hornets was that, with the victory along with Lake Hamilton’s 39-33 win over Camden Fairview and Benton stunning 76-74 victory over El Dorado, the Hornets moved into a four-way tie for the league lead. Bryant, Lake Hamilton, Fairview and El Dorado all had 7-3 marks entering the final two weeks of the regular season.
Pine Bluff, just a game behind the quartet on top, would be Bryant’s next challenge on Tuesday, Feb. 12 (see related story on page 4).
The Hornets were in real danger of being upset for a second time by Texarkana. In fact, they trailed 46-45 with 1:01 left in the game. Carr had just completed a Razorback charge that had erased a 7-point Bryant lead. And he had been fouled on the driving jumper that put his team ahead.
But Carr missed the subsequent free throw and Josh Ridge was fouled on the rebound. After a march to the other end of the floor, Ridge came through with a pair of clutch free throws, the last of his team-high 16 points in the game.
Trailing by one, the Razorbacks and head coach Bill Niven decided to go for broke, understandable when you’re 3-18. They worked the clock down to :14.6 then took a timeout to set something up. With :07.5 showing, junior guard Courtney Curry was fouled on the floor. Curry, who pumped in all 8 of his points in the third quarter surge that kept the Hogs in the game, missed the front end of the one-and-one. The carom came out long and appeared headed for the hands of a Texarkana player. But Bryant’s Scotty Yant went up and tipped it away. The ball ricocheted off a couple of hands before Bryant’s Dwayne Chumley snatched it. He was fouled with :03.5 left.
Chumley hit one of the two free throws leaving the door open for Texarkana to hit a last-second shot to win or tie. Curry hustled the ball up the floor but lost his momentum and almost the ball as he split a double team just beyond midcourt. He staggered into the circle and tossed up a shot in desparation that failed to go in.
Carr scored 21 of his team’s 27 points in the first half. Bryant trailed 17-15 after a quarter but managed a 29-27 halftime edge. Jaston Carter had 10 of his 12 points in the first half for Bryant. Chumley had 7 of his 8.
The Hornets were hampered by foul trouble for Ridge and senior Jeremy Reeves. Reeves was held to 5 points in the game and Ridge had just 2 at the half.
The Hornets made a bid to take control of the game to start the second half. Reeves hit a 16-foot jumper then Carter made a steal and slam to make it 33-27. After a Texarkana timeout, the teams exchanged turnovers before Ridge was fouled on a drive to the hoop. His free throws gave Bryant its largest lead at 35-27.
That’s when Curry got hot. The Hogs trimmed the lead to 37-35 and had a chance to tie but Curry misfired. The Hornets took advantage as Ridge hit a layup off a feed from Carter and, moments later, knocked down a short jumper off an assist from Chumley.
A 3 by Curry, however, made it 41-38 going into the final eight minutes.
Neither team was able to score again until Benny Elder hit inside off a dish from Carter with 5:27 left in the game.
Another dryspell followed before Ridge bumped the lead back to 7 with a pair of free throws at the 3:38 mark.
Bryant had a chance to increase the margin further but turned the ball over. In turn, Carr drilled a 3-pointer to begin the 8-0 Texarkana run that put them, briefly, in the lead.