Bryant Beats Brown For First Time Ever
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Prior to Wednesday night's game at Brown, the Bryant Bulldogs had never beaten the Bears on the hardwood in 11 tries. It appears that the 12th time was the charm.
Bryant pressured the Bears into committing 19 turnovers on their way to a 68-61 win at the Pizzitola Sports Center.
In fairness to the Bulldogs, their men's basketball program just made the transition to Division 1. That process has been taking oplace for the past four years and it now appears that Tim O'Shea's team is ready to compete at the D-1 level.
"This was not an upset despite what people think," said O'Shea. "Right now we're a better team than Brown."
They certainly were Wednesday night.
Brown committed 10 turnovers in the first half and trailed 35-24 at halftime. It got worse early in the second half as the Bears committed 5 more turnovers in the first 4+ minutes of the second half before they finally settled down. However, the Bears dug themselves a hole of 16 points that proved to be too difficult to pull out of.
In the game's final 15 minutes, Brown did match Bryant's defensive intensity and did a much better job of taking care of the basketball. They were able to cut the deficit to four points at 56-52 with 4:57 to play, but that was as close as they would come.
Sophomore transfer (Columbia) Dyami Starks led the Bulldogs with a game-high 25 points. Junior teammate Alex Francis proved to be a tough match-up for the Bears scoring 18 points while pulling down 10 rebounds.
"Obviously we're going to have trouble matching up against teams like Indiana, Providence and Boston College," said O'Shea. "But I think that we now have legitimate division one talent on this team where we can compete in and win games like this and against UNH, Army, Dartmouth and Yale who are all on our shedule. Winning some of these will be big for us heading into conference play."
Brown was led by freshman Cedric Kuakumensah's career-best 14 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Junior guard Sean McGonagill also netted 14 to go along with 8 assists while the reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Week Rafael Maia finished with 12 points and 9 rebounds.
Bears coach Mike Martin was less than pleased with the way his team played Wednesday night. "I want to make sure to give Bryant credit because they came ready to play," he said. "The players and coaches did a better job than us and I'll take responsibnility for that."
Despite his disappointment, Martin's Bears did settle down and play well in the game's final 15 minutes. Both teams are now (2-2) on the season.
There was a nice crowd of 1,509 at the Pizzatola for intrastate rivalry game prompting Rhode Island College men's basketball coach Bob Walsh to say, "this is a great idea to have these two local teams meet the night before Thanksgiving. I think they should make this a tradition and have this game on this night every year for local basketball fans to come out and see."
The Bears host St Francis (NY) on Saturday at 2pm while the Bulldogs visit Boston College Sunday at 2pm.