Hornets close out championship of OrthoArkansas/CAC tourney

NORTH LITTLE ROCK — The Bryant Hornets closed out a three-game sweep to capture the championship of the OrthoArkansas/CAC Invitational Tournament on Saturday night, with a 72-44 romp over the host Central Arkansas Christian Mustangs.

Fourteen Hornets got into the game and 13 of them contributed to the scoring, led by Kevin Hunt’s 17 points and 11 from Romen Martin. Rickie Allen scored 9 off the bench, Marvin Moody had 7 and Detavious Moore 6. Lowell Washington scored 5 points and hauled down 11 rebounds.

CAC was paced by 6-6 forward Rashad Martin who had 15 points and 18 rebounds. Kam Vick and Jason Gray added 8 points each.

The win improved the Hornets to 5-0 on the season going into the prestigious Jammin’ For Jackets tournament at Little Rock Hall. They open on Thursday night at 8:30 against Little Rock McClellan.

“I thought we did well,” said Bryant coach Mike Abrahamson of Saturday’s victory. “There’s things we can do better. When we get in those situations where we can play everybody or go deeper into our bench, we need to see that those guys can maintain more, there’s not as much of a slip. Those guys are good and capable of protecting a lead or extending a lead. I’d like to see a better job of that.”

When the starters came out for good with 3:58 left in the third quarter, Bryant held a 50-20 lead. Initially, the second group extended the margin to 35 before CAC put a spurt together. But they could get no closer than 25 down. Baskets by Sam Chumley and Moore, plus a pair of free throws from Moore pushed the lead back to 31 with 3:31 to go. The sportsmanship rule with a continuous running clock went into effect at that point.

Actually, the Mustangs took the upper hand early. Ryan Gilbert hit a 3 and, after Romen Martin answered, Rashad Martin scored inside to make it 5-3. Bryant’s first lead came on a three-point play by Hunt that made it 6-5.

The Hornets would not trail again.

“We tried a match-up zone to start the game and to start the second half,” Abrahamson mentioned. “To start the game, I didn’t like our start. It was more of a mentality thing than anything else. So I challenged them at halftime to have a better mentality even though it’s a different defense and our starters did a good job to start the second half.”

The Hornets went to their standard man-to-man after Hunt’s three-point play and, doing a great job of helping, they stifled the Mustangs the rest of the way.

CAC wound up shooting just 21 percent from the field in the first half (5 of 24) and 30 percent (14 of 47) for the game. The Mustangs had 16 turnovers, 12 of which came in the first half. Bryant finished the game with five turnovers and out-rebounded CAC 43-38.

“We’re fouling too much and we’re not making our free throws,” Abrahamson said.

The Hornets were 13 of 23 at the line.

“Last night,” he continued, referring to Friday’s 74-71 win over Maumelle, “we had a ridiculous amount of turnovers. So we’ve got a lot of areas that we can still improve and we will. We’ll keep working.

“But, today, I thought we did what we’re capable of overall,” the coach concluded. “We’ve got some hardware to take back so I’m proud of them. We’re on the right track.”

A stickback by Hunt off a missed free throw followed up his three-point play as a 31-6 blitz to finish the half got underway. Calvin Allen, after grabbing an offensive rebound, fed Moody for a bucket and, moments later, Romen Martin drove for a layup to make it 12-5.

After a CAC timeout, Rashad Martin missed two free throws and, after an exchange of missed shots and turnovers, Moody added a free throw. CAC’s Noah Evans misfired and Hunt drilled a 3 to make it 16-5.

A basket in the final seconds from Gray cut the margin to 9 going into the second period.

A 12-footer jumper by Calvin Allen was answered by a driving jumper from CAC’s Grant Wood with 7:03 left in the half. From that point, the Mustangs were held to 2 points the rest of the half.

Kaleb Turner’s three-point play off the offensive glass was followed up by Washington’s steal and basket to make it 23-9.

Rashad Martin interrupted the run with a tip-in but Hunt scored inside then made a steal that he turned into a slam dunk and a 27-11 lead.

CAC’s third timeout of the half failed to slow the Hornets down. Washington hit the offensive glass for a basket then Calvin Allen made a steal that led to a dunk by Moore, which produced the first 20-point lead, 31-11.

And when Rickie Allen beat the buzzer with a 3, the Hornets held a 23-point halftime advantage.

To start the second half, Rashad Martin hit two free throws but then Romen Martin nailed a pair of 3’s. He followed up with a steal that led to a pair of free throws for Braylon Steen. Washington added a free throw with 5:47 left in the third quarter to give Bryant its first 30-point lead.

After the starters went to the bench later in the period, Christian McIntosh popped a 3. Evans answered for CAC and, after Rashad Martin hit a free throw, Rickie Allen drove for a layup and Moody hit the offensive glass for a bucket. Two free throws for Rickie Allen and a layup by Moody followed, extending the margin to its apex, 61-26.

A three-point play by CAC’s Zane Harris and a buzzer-beating 3 from Vick at the end of the quarter, made it 61-32 going into the final eight minutes.

It was 65-37 after Jordan Walker made a steal and drove for a layup for the Hornets with 6:32 left.

HORNETS 72, MUSTANGS 44

Score by quarters

BRYANT          16       18       27       11 — 72

CAC                 7          4          21       12 — 44

HORNETS (5-0) 72

C.Allen 1-7 2-2 4, Hunt 7-11 1-1 17, Ro.Martin 4-9 0-0 11, Steen 0-2 2-2 2, Washington 2-4 1-5 5, Moody 3-4 1-2 7, Turner 1-4 1-1 3, McIntosh 1-5 0-0 3, Moore 2-7 2-3 6, Cowart 0-2 0-0 0, R.Allen 3-6 2-5 9, Chumley 1-2 0-0 2, Walker 1-3 0-0 2, Adams 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 26-66 (39%) 13-23 (57%) 72.

MUSTANGS 44

Gilbert 1-2 2-2 5, Wood 1-2 0-0 2, Hart 0-2 0-0 0, Ra.Martin 4-14 7-11 15, Swede 0-3 0-0 0, Vick 3-9 0-0 8, Evans 1-4 0-0 3, Gray 3-8 1-3 8, Miller 0-1 0-0 0, Scallon 0-1 0-0 0, Harris 1-1 1-1 3, Littlefield 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-47 (30%) 11-17 (65%) 44.

Three-point field goals: Bryant 7-30 (Ro.Martin 3-8, Hunt 2-4, McIntosh 1-3, R.Allen 1-3, C.Allen 0-4, Turner 0-3, Moore 0-3, Cowart 0-1, Walker 0-1), CAC 5-8 (Vick 2-3, Gilbert 1-1, Evans 1-1, Gray 1-1, Hart 0-2). Turnovers: Bryant 5, CAC 16. Rebounds: Bryant 23-20 43 (Washington 4-7 11, Moody 6-0 6, Hunt 2-2 4, Steen 2-2 4, Moore 2-2 4, R.Allen 1-2 3, Cowart 1-1 2, Turner 1-1 2, C.Allen 1-0 1, Ro.Martin 0-1 1, McIntosh 1-0 1, Chumley 1-0 1, team 1-2 3), CAC 14-24 38 (Ra.Martin 10-8 18, Gilbert 2-2 4, Vick 1-3 4, Wood 1-1 2, Evans 0-2 2, Miller 0-2 2, Swede 0-1 1, Harris 0-1 1, team 0-4 4). Team fouls: Bryant 17, CAC 20. Fouled out: CAC, Swede.

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