December 30 in Bryant athletic history: 2010

Hornets’ closing rush leaves Mustangs in their wake

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, will continueposting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).

By Rob Patrick

HOT SPIRNGS — After leading by 13 in the first half and as much as 12 early in the third quarter, the Bryant Hornets found themselves trailing the Central Arkansas Christian Mustangs, 36-33, with seven minutes left in there game at Summit Arena on Thursday.

The two teams were competing in the consolation final of the Summit Bank Spa City Shootout and the result would[more] give one team two wins in the holiday tournament and the loser two losses in three games.

Earlier in the season, the Hornets, after having surrendered such an advantage, might’ve been done in. But, on the heels of a strong finish in Wednesday’s win over Hot Springs, the Hornets topped themselves with an 18-2 finish that produced a 51-38 victory.

Thus, they head into 7A-Central Conference play off back-to-back wins, 4-9 overall.

“It’s a process and it’s in motions,” stated Hornets head coach Mike Abrahamson, reflecting on his team’s work at the Shootout. “It’s going where it needs to go. Sometimes I get frustrated. I’d like for us to take bigger steps than we’re taking but we are moving forward.

“We’re still trying to put four quarters together,” he added. “Today, I thought we had three good quarters but the third quarter, we struggled. We were all frustrated and I think we all just made a commitment in between the third and fourth quarter to let it go. We can’t get it back. Let’s make the fourth quarter, the best fourth quarter it can be. That was the message and that’s what our players did. We really executed very well.

“Defensively, we got back to talking, contesting shots, blocking out, helping each other stopping penetration,” the coach added. “And, offensively, almost everything I called, they executed well. Whether we made the shot or not, they executed well. We got something good at the basket.”

The compelling finish for the Hornets began with Quinton Motto, the 6-8 junior who started despite turning his ankle in the final minutes of Wednesday’s game, taking an inbounds pass under the basket and getting hacked. He converted both shots to pull Bryant within 36-35.

CAC lived and died with the 3-point shot. The Mustangs were 0 for 6 from long range in the opening quarter which contributed to the Hornets fast start. They connected on 4 of 5 from distance in the third to spark their comeback. In the fourth, they went dry again (0 for 6).

Their first miss came on the heels of Motto’s free throws and, at the other end, Jordan Griffin, quickly becoming the Hornets’ Mr. Clutch, drained a triple to put Bryant ahead.

The Hornets would not relinquish the lead.

CAC had three shots at tying it back up or taking the lead but came up empty so when Houston Garner was fouled on an inbounds play with 4:45 to play and hit his two free throws the lead was extended to 39-36.

The Mustangs’ only basket of the final seven minutes, a driving jumper by Marquelle Nelson, cut the margin back to 1 and a Bryant turnover gave them a chance to regain the advantage. Josh Holland was fouled but missed the front end of the one-and-one as Bryant stayed on top.

CAC had no one with enough size to guard Motto but in a scramble to rally, the Mustangs had gone to a man defense. Motto posted up, scored and was fouled. He missed his free throw but teammate Kyle Nossaman secured the rebound. Griffin misfired but the carom went out of bounds off a CAC player.

After inbounding it, Motto posted up again and rolled into the paint for a jump hook that made it 43-38.

Holland missed a 3 and the Hornets spread out their offense as Abrahamson exhorted them to take only layups. It didn’t take long for Brantley Cozart to get one on a nice give-and-go with Nossaman.

The Mustangs’ dry spell continued and Motto was fouled. Though he missed the front end, there was Nossaman again to steal the rebound. A subsequent turnover gave CAC another chance but Griffin and Cozart combined for a steal that led to another layup for Cozart. And when Cozart converted two free throws with :25.3 left, the Hornet lead was back to double digits.

Motto blocked a shot out of bounds and, moments later, stole a pass. Though he was unable to gain full possession to get a good shot away, Cozart continued to hustle and rebounded his miss. His free throws with :10.1 left set the final score.

Cozart followed up his 27-point performance in the win over Hot Springs with 14 against the Mustangs. Griffin finished with 15 and Motto 12.

Logan Stafford paced CAC with 9 points on three 3’s.

Bryant opened up its initial advantage with a 14-2 run to finish the first quarter and start the second. The led 5-4 when the run began. Nossaman hit a pair of free throws after a drive to the rack to get it started. Cozart drained a triple and, after a basket by CAC’s Jaylon Jones, Logan Trudell made a steal that led to an offensive-rebound bucket by Leon Neale.

When Griffin popped a 3-pointer in the final 30 seconds, the lead was 15-6 going into the second quarter. Griffin added two free throws and a jumper in the lane to extend the margin to 19-6 in the first minute of the second period. After a timeout, the Mustangs finally broke the drought with a 3 by Stafford.

Zach Cambron followed his own miss to answer but CAC was able to whittle the lead to 21-15 before Garner knocked down a trey in the closing seconds to give the Hornets a 9-point advantage at the half.

Josh Adams got the first bucket of the third quarter to get the Mustangs within 7 but Griffin fed Motto for a layup and, after a turnover, Cozart flushed another troika to make it 29-17.

The Mustangs heated up at that point and when Stafford and Marquelle Nelson got back-to-back 3’s to go in the final minute, the game was tied at 33.

Ben Shields snapped the tie with a 12-foot jumper to start the fourth quarter. He added a free throw a few moments later, giving CAC the 36-33 lead that the Hornets proceeded to wipe out.

Assessing his team’s progress in the tournament, Abrahamson pointed to the improvement in execution.

“Particularly, offensively,” he stated. “I thought we got good shot attempts all three games. Clearly, Texas High is a good team. They’re in the championship game tonight (and won it 48-47 over Malvern). They’re big and they’re athletic. We didn’t score as many points but I thought we got good shots. Give them credit for playing good defense and altering our shots, contesting them. I thought we got good shots (Wednesday). Our scoring was up and down.

“Today, I thought we got good shots most of the time,” he concluded. “There were a couple of questionable shots but that’s going to happen. All in all, execution of what we’re trying to do offensively was where we made our biggest strides. I hope it gives us some confidence to go into the conference season. That 4-9 really means nothing.”

The Hornets visit Little Rock Catholic on Friday, Jan. 7, in their league debut.


Score by quarters

BRYANT 15 9 9 18 — 51

CAC 6 9 18 5 — 38


Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts 


Griffin  5-12 2-5 0-2 2 0 15

Cozart 4-9 4-4 1-8 9 1 14

Nossaman 0-1 2-2 2-1 3 1 2

Garner 1-6 1-2 0-3 3 3 4

Motto 5-8 2-4 1-6 7 3 12

Moore 0-0 0-0 0-1 1 2 0

Bell 0-0 0-0 2-0 2 2 0

Neale 1-2 0-0 2-0 2 1 2

Trudell 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Cambron 1-2 0-0 1-0 1 3 2

Team 2-3 5

Totals 17-42 11-17 11-24 35 16 51


Player fg-fga ft-fta reb fls pts 


Sherrill  2-5 0-0 0-3 3 0 6

Adams 4-10 0-0 2-3 5 4 8

Shields 2-8 4-6 5-3 8 4 8

Holland 0-8 0-1 2-2 4 2 0

Stringfellow 0-2 0-0 0-1 1 2 0

Stafford 3-6 0-0 1-0 1 1 9

Jones 1-4 0-1 1-4 5 1 2

Nelson 2-9 0-0 0-1 1 4 5

Barnes 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Evans 0-0 0-0 1-0 1 0 0

Team 6-2 8

Totals 14-52 4-8 18-19 37 18 38

Three-point field goals: Bryant 6-17 (Griffin 3-5, Cozart 2-6, Garner 1-5, Trudell 0-1), CAC 6-23 (Stafford 3-5, Sherrill 2-4, Nelson 1-4, Adams 0-3, Shields 0-2, Holland 0-2, Stringfellow 0-2, Jones 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 12, CAC 15.

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