RUSSELLVILLE — Usually, Bryant Hornets point guard Calvin Allen is content to handle the ball and set up his teammates with often tremendous passes. But, on Tuesday night at handsome new Cyclones Arena, Kevin Hunt and Romen Martin — Bryant’s top two scorers on the season — behind held to combined 10 points, Allen came through with a season-high 17 points. And with Lowell Washington adding 16 points and eight rebounds, the Hornets extracted a 57-43 win over Russellville.
“Everybody knows about Romen and Kevin and their ability to score,” noted Bryant head coach Mike Abrahamson after his team improved to 14-3 overall and 4-0 in the 7A/6A-Central Conference. “We don’t want other teams to feel like they can only focus on those two. Our other players have to make the opponents pay when they do. Tonight was really just about other kids stepping up. It was great to see that we could win like that without those two guys doing a lot of scoring.
“To Calvin’s credit, we needed it tonight and he stepped up and he did it,” he continued. “He’s more comfortable now to do that. Also, Lowell was big. I thought he had a huge game. He rebounded well and finished well. He seemed to make big plays when we needed them.
“Detavious (Moore) had a big 3 and an and-one — all those things are big,” the coach added. “Kaleb Turner gets a big putback at the end of the third quarter. I thought that was huge. I thought Lowell was fouled on the play so when K.T. was there to run it down and put it right back in for a layup, that was big play.”
Turner’s stickback snapped a 35-35 tie. Moore started the scoring in the fourth quarter when he took a feed from Marvin Moody, scored and was fouled. He converted the free throw to make it 40-35.
Russellville’s big K.J. Patrick hit a free throw with 6:20 to go and the Cyclones had a couple of chances to get closer before Allen zipped a pass to Washington who scored and was fouled. Though he missed the free throw, Hunt skied to bring down the rebound. He got it back to Washington who slipped a feed to Braylon Steen for a layup.
Suddenly, the Hornets had a double-digit lead. Hunt added a free throw and it was 48-36.
Russellville’s Zach Carter kept his team alive with a 3 from the corner but that proved to by the Cyclones’ only field goal in 14 attempts in the fourth quarter as the Hornets ratcheted up the defense.
Free throws allowed the Cyclones to cut the lead to 8 twice but Hunt and Allen combined to knocked down six in a row from the line. Russellville was unable to score over the final 2:00.
After not even attempting a free throw in the second and third quarters, the Hornets were 9 of 12 in the final stanza.
The Cyclones final points came on free throws by Jacob Boles, who led his team with 17 points including four 3’s. He got to the line when a technical foul was called on Hunt for putting his hand in the face of a Russellville ball-handler, a very unusual call.
“That happened to us earlier this year somewhere,” Abrahamson related. “I don’t know where that came from because, where I come from, you don’t want them to be able to see and you don’t want them to be comfortable and you don’t want the offense to do whatever they want to do. To me, that’s part of it.
“Bruce Bowen used to do that, playing for the (NBA’s San Antonia) Spurs,” he added. “But now you can’t do that and not only will some officials call it but there’s no warning. It’s straight to a technical foul. Apparently, it’s unsportsmanlike. To me, we’re not touching them. We’re not taunting them. We’re just trying to not let them see so they can’t run an offense comfortably.
“It is being taught,” the coach continued, “taught by me. Kevin was doing what I wanted him to do in that situation. But we’ve got to adjust and we will adjust. It is surprising to me that it’s really called but it is what it is, so we’ll adjust.”
Boles scored 9 of his points in the first quarter to help his team gain the upper hand. His free throw with 1:34 left in the period had them up 15-12. But a nice drive by Rickie Allen in the final seconds of the period cut the lead to 1.
Boles knocked down his third triple to start the second quarter. Steven Baty converted two free throws and it was 20-14.
The Hornets then put together an 11-3 run, sparked by Calvin Allen’s pull-up jumper. Washington scored off the offensive glass then hit a 15-footer. That had the game tied at 20.
Moore then drilled a 3 from the corner. Boles answered in kind to knot it up again but a buzzer-beating drive to the rack by Calvin Allen had the Hornets up 25-23.
Patrick scored 10 of his 11 points in the third quarter. The game was tied at 31, 33 and 35 before Turner’s buzzer-beater.
“It was great team effort,” Abrahamson said. “Second half, especially the third quarter, the Patrick kid really did well. Then we just kind of tried to see if we could make some adjustments to how we were guarding him. We couldn’t let it be a one-on-one game because he’s too strong. He’s too good. So we just tried to crowd him up. Braylon did a good job of helping down on Lowell to guard the kid. We just tried to make him uncomfortable. Some of the guards dumped down on him pretty good and he just didn’t get the opportunities in the fourth quarter that he got in the third quarter. Got to give our kids credit for that.”
Patrick hit a free throw in the final period but missed all three of his field goal attempts.
The win was Bryant’s seventh in a row since a loss on a shot at the buzzer to North Little Rock at the Coke Classic in Fort Smith. The Hornets host Alma this Friday.
HORNETS 57, CYCLONES 43
Score by quarters
BRYANT 14 11 12 20 — 57
Russellville 15 8 12 8 — 43
HORNETS (14-3, 4-0) 57
C.Allen 6-10 4-4 17, Martin 0-9 4-4 4, Moody 0-1 0-2 0, Steen 2-4 0-0 4, Washington 8-11 0-1 16, Hunt 1-4 4-6 6, R.Allen 1-2 0-0 2, Cowart 0-1 0-0 0, Moore 2-3 1-1 6, Turner 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 21-47 (45%) 13-18 (72%) 57.
CYCLONES (9-7, 1-3) 43
Boles 4-11 5-6 17, Carter 2-9 0-0 5, McKown 0-4 2-2 2, Laws 1-1 0-0 2, Patrick 3-11 5-7 11, Rhode 1-1 0-0 2, Baty 0-4 4-4 4, Goodman 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 11-43 (26%) 16-19 (84%) 43.
Three-point field goals: Bryant 2-16 (C.Allen 1-2, Moore 1-2, Martin 0-6, Hunt 0-2, R.Allen 0-1, Cowart 0-1, Turner 0-1), Russellville 5-20 (Boles 4-8, Carter 1-7, Patrick 0-2, Goodman 0-2, Baty 0-1). Turnovers: Bryant 18, Russellville 15. Rebounds: Bryant 15-20 35 (Steen 4-5 9, Washington 2-6 8, Hunt 1-3 4, Moody 1-2 3, C.Allen 3-0 3, Martin 0-2 2, R.Allen 1-0 1, Turner 1-0 1, team 2-2 4), Russellville 14-13 27 (Patrick 6-3 9, Rhode 2-4 6, Carter 1-2 3, McKown 0-2 2, Laws 1-0 1, Baty 0-1 1, team 4-1 5). Team fouls: Bryant 16, Russellville 17. Technical fouls: Bryant, Hunt; Russellville, Rhode.