First-place Cyclones repel Hornets’ upset bid

By Rob Patrick

RUSSELLVILLE — The Bryant Hornets opened their game against the 7A/6A-Central Conference-leading Russellville[more] Cyclones like they were going to give their hosts fits.

Russellville’s Eric Turner hit a 3 to start the game but then Quinton Motto hit two free throws for the Hornets and Anthony Black and Marcus Wilson nailed consecutive 3’s to give their team an 8-3 lead.

It moved Russellville to call for a timeout.

The Hornets had a couple of opportunities to build on that but came up empty. Still, After Turner buried another 3, Black fed Motto for a basket that made it 10-6.

From that point to the end of the first half, however, Bryant could muster just 5 points — three free throws and a field goal — and that 10-6 lead turned into a 27-15 halftime deficit.

And the league-leading team, playing of its home court, was not going to squander such an advantage. Russellville improved to 9-1 in the conference and 18-5 overall with a 57-41 win.

“I thought it was going to be a good game,” stated Hornets head coach Mike Abrahamson. “The second quarter killed us and we could never recover. We just really struggled.

“And, you know, a lot of that is to their credit,” he noted. “They’re a good team. They’re very hard to guard because they all can shoot, pass and dribble and cut. They all know what they’re doing. You’ve got to really hone in on all of them and that’s nearly impossible. And, on the defensive end, they’re just really buying in to what they’re doing. They’re a senior group and they play like it.

“There’s no shame in losing to a good team,” the coach said. “I just wish we could’ve put the ball in the basket a little bit better and given them a run for it. I thought we played hard. We just couldn’t score. Their defense is really good but, at the same time, we got a lot of open shots that we just missed.”

The Hornets, now 13-9 and 5-5, found themselves trailing 12-10 before the first quarter was over. All 12 Russellville points came on 3-point bombs by Turner, the last of which came from NBA range. Two free throws by Zach Cambron with :22.7 on the clock brought the Hornets even going into the second period.

Turner would go on to knock down 6 of 8 from 3-point range on his way to 19 points. Grey Harris led the Cyclones with 20, including a couple of 3’s as well.

Harris’ first bucket came with 5:52 left in the first half, an eight-foot jumper that gave his team the lead for good. A driving layup by Jordan Barrett made it 16-12 and, after a Bryant miss, the Cyclones had a chance to add to the margin only to have Motto take a charge. Black’s pull-up floater cut the margin to 16-14 with 4:32 left in the half but Harris buried back-to-back 3’s to spark an 11-1 run to end the half.

And when Turner opened the third quarter like he did the first, Russellville’s lead was 30-15.

After going 1 of 11 from the field in the second quarter, the Hornets were 2 of 9 in the third. They also struggled at the free-throw line. After hitting all four of their chances at the stripe in the first quarter, they were 2 for 10 over the next two quarters. In all, the Hornets earned more opportunities at the line but went 12 of 22 to Russellville's 10 of 15. And with seven 3's, the Hornets only had four field goals inside the arc.

Brantley Cozart, one of the Hornets’ leading scorers on the season, was held to just a free throw by the Cyclones. He got that free throw to start Bryant’s second-half scoring. But when Turner hit a 3 and was fouled with 5:23 left in the third period, the Cyclones had their largest lead of the game at 34-16.

Black, who wound up the only Bryant player in double figures with 16, hit a 3 in response but the Hornets still trailed 37-21 going into the fourth quarter.

Bryant trailed 41-23 early in the final period before Greyson Giles hit a pair of free throws then Black converted a one-and-one to cut the margin to 14. Harris knocked down a pair at the line then Bryant’s Logan Trudell drained a trey to trim the margin to 43-30 with 5:57 left.

The Hornets, who had erased large deficits and won in two previous conference games, could get no closer this time as Russellville pushed the lead back out to 18 going into the final minute.

The loss snapped a three-game win streak for the Hornets who will host Conway on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

RUSSELLVILLE 57, BRYANT 41

Score by quarters

BRYANT 12 3 6 20 — 41

Russellville 12 15 10 20 — 57 

HORNETS (13-9, 5-5) 41

Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts

o-d-t

Black  5-10 2-2 1-4 5 4 16

Griffin 3-9 0-3 0-2 2 3 7

Cozart 0-9 1-2 0-2 2 1 1

Wilson 1-5 0-3 1-4 5 2 3

Motto 1-2 3-4 3-4 7 4 5

Giles 0-1 2-2 1-0 1 1 2

Cambron 0-0 0-2  0-0 0 2 2

Trudell 1-4 0-0 1-0 1 0 3

Davis 0-0 0-0 1-0 1 0 0

Hewett 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Rayburn 0-0 2-4 0-1 1 0 2

Team 1-1 2

Total 11-41 12-22 9-18 27 17 41

CYCLONES (18-5, 9-1) 57

Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts

o-d-t

Washington 2-5 2-4 2-3 5 3 7

Harris 7-14 4-4 3-9 12 3 20

Young 0-1 0-0 1-0 1 0 0

Jones 0-3 2-2 0-3 3 2 2

Turner 6-8 1-3 1-0 1 3 19

Barrett 3-8 1-2 1-3 4 1 7

Sacrey 1-3 0-0 1-0 1 2 2

George 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 3 0

Myles 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Prewett 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Runion 0-1 0-0 0-2 2 0 0

Freeman 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Underhill 0-0 0-0 1-0 1 1 0

Team 1-6 7

Total 19-44 10-15 11-26 37 19 57

Three-point field goals: Bryant 7-27 (Black 4-5, Griffin 1-5, Wilson 1-5, Trudell 1-4, Cozart 0-6, Giles 0-1, Hewett 0-1), Russellville 9-18 (Turner 6-8, Harris 2-4, Washington 1-2, Barrett 0-3, Myles 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 10, Russellville 13. Technical foul: Bryant coach Abrahamson.


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