Second-half binges allow Hornets to roll
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
Though it seemed like the Bryant Hornets were all over the court, making plays left and right, they just couldn’t shake the Sheridan Yellowjackets in their game at the Hornets’ Nest on Friday, Nov. 16.
They were hustling, working hard but, for every good play they made, there seemed to be something else that didn’t go well, left them scrambling. They led just 28-22 at the half, then 28-24 early in the third quarter.
But that’s when they started to put it together. A 13-1 run put them in control of the game though they still couldn’t put the Jackets away until they held the them without a field goal over the final 4:30. The advantage grew to as much as 19 on the way to a 59-41 victory.
The Hornets improved to 2-0 on the season going into the Tuesday, Nov. 20, showdown at Benton.
“I thought we played hard, we’re just doing some silly things,” commented Bryant coach Chad Withers. “I thought in the first half, we really let them back in after we jumped out. We got a little impatient, started shooting 3’s and didn’t rotate a couple of times on the press. But I think our effort’s pretty good and we’ve really only had everybody for about four days now.
“We’re doing some good things but we’ve got a lot to work on,” he added. “One of those things that we’re going to have to change is kind of our mentality late in the game, understanding when to and when not to. We’ll get through that. We’re playing hard and I’m excited about them.”
Senior Chad Knight led the Hornets with 18 points. Zach Lewis added 10, Brandon Cowart, Hunter Sample and Taylor Masters 8 each. Masters was the top rebounder with nine including six on the offensive end. Sheridan’s Brett Pritchard led all scorers with 19 to go with seven boards.
Sample started the run that gained the Hornets control with an offensive-rebound bucket that made it 30-24. Cowart made a steal and Knight cashed it in with a 3-pointer. After Sample blocked a shot by Sheridan’s Christian Anglin, Cowart fed Masters for a basket as he was fouled. He missed the free throw but Lewis snared the carom and stuck it back in to make it 37-24.
The run continued when Knight made a steal and a layup. Pritchard interrupted with a free throw but, after another Cowart theft, Knight planted a pair from the line to complete the blitz and up the advantage to 41-25.
Luke Thomas ended Sheridan’s five-minute drought with a 3-pointer and the Jackets were able to trade baskets with Bryant for awhile. The Hornets led 43-30 going into the fourth quarter and it was still a 13-point game, 50-37, when they hit the 4:30 mark.
But Masters fed Sample for a bucket and Dijon Benton connected on a pair of free throws to start the Hornets’ game-ending roll. Anglin hit a free throw but Knight fed Lewis for a layup. Sawyer Dunigan connected on a pair from the line for Sheridan but Cowart took a pass from Masters for a layup and, moments later, Masters drove the baseline for a bucket to make the lead 59-40 going into the final minute.
Bryant had jumped to a 13-6 lead in the first quarter. The game was tied at 4 when Knight stopped and popped to put Bryant ahead for good. He followed that basket with a 3 to make it 9-4. After Pritchard hit a layup, Masters canned a trey and Tim Floyd added a free throw to make it 13-6. But Blaine Carter hit a 3 for Sheridan to make it 4-point game going into the second period.
Bryant built the lead back up to 7 but Sheridan rallied and trailed just 26-22 going into the final minute. The Jackets had a chance to get closer when Anglin rebounded a missed free throw by Dunigan but Cowart made a steal and, with :18.8 left in the half, converted two free throws to make it 28-22 at the break.
Pritchard scored the first basket of the third quarter to trim the lead to 4 before Bryant’s game-turning surge.