Farish, Pitts pace Hornets in victory
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
NORTH LITTLE ROCK — The Bryant Hornets were off to another slow start. The Central Arkansas Christian Mustangs, hosts of the OrthoArkansas/CAC Invitational Tournament were leading 8-0 when Bryant head coach Mark Smith removed four of his starters and inserted four players off the bench, Micah Farish, Anthony Mask, Phillip Porchay and Chris Chumley, to play with point guard Chad Pitts.
A turnover was the first result, then another basket by the Mustangs and a 10-0 score with less than four minutes left in the opening quarter.
But the new group, sparked by the scoring of Pitts and Farish got things going with a 12-2 run that had the game tied by the end of the first quarter. The starters eventually filtered back in but Pitts and Farish kept scoring. The duo combined for 42 points as the Hornets surged to a 58-48 victory on Tuesday, Nov. 30.
Pitts, who had 20 points, hit 3 of 5 3-point shots, both of his 2-point tries and converted all seven of his free throws. Farish popped 2 of his 3 trey tries, part of an 8 of 10 shooting performance from the field. He did a nice job of driving to the hoop for many of his shots and he was 4-for-4 at the line. Those stats were major factors in the Hornets’ 55 percent shooting from the field in the game. They were 17 of 21 from the free-throw line including 8 of 12 in the fourth quarter to hold on for the victory.
The game was still tight with three minute left. CAC’s Calvin Woods hit a layup to cut Bryant’s lead, which had been as much as 8, to 49-46. But when Chris Chumley hit a jump hook with 2:34 to go, it started a 9-2 closing surge by the Hornets that featured free throws by Jeremy Chumley, Chris Chumley, Pitts, Ryan Moss and Farish.
Chris Chumley wound up with 7 points and a game-high seven rebounds.
The Hornets’ initial turnaround began with a pair of free throws by Farish after a nice feed from Porchay. Bryant forced a CAC turnover and Pitts canned his first triple. After a pair of free throws by CAC’s David Zachariason, Farish connected with a foot on the 3-point line. In the final minute, Pitts added a 3, a steal and two free throws to tie it.
Zachariason scored the first basket of the second period but free throws by Chris Chumley and a driving layup by Farish gave Bryant its first lead with 7:07 left in the half.
CAC led 21-18 with 4:22 left but Pitts hit three free throws then Moss and Mask combined on a steal that led to another drive for Farish.
A layup by Chase Shaw and a basket by Pitts of a tapped out offensive rebound by Moss made it 27-21.
Woods scored for CAC but a 3 by Farish gave Bryant a 30-23 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Hornets had an answer for every CAC run. The Mustangs tied it at 32 midway through the third quarter but Moss connected on a 15-footer and, moments later, Farish fed Pitts for 3. A 3-pointer by Farish after an empty trip to the line for the Mustangs gave the Hornets their largest lead to that point, 40-32, with 2:20 left in the period.
But by the end of the quarter, CAC was surging again. It was 42-36. Drew Dell, who had 18 for the Mustangs, scored the first basket of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 4 but Chris Chumley knocked down a baseline jumper and Farish drove for a layup to keep the team on top.
CAC cut it to 4 again before Farish came through with a clutch three-point play that interrupted what would’ve been an 8-point run by the Mustangs, who still managed to get the lead down to 3 before the final push by the Hornets.