Smithfield, RI – The Bryant Bulldogs used a 27-10 second half run to pull away from Sacred Heart Thursday night and defeat the Pioneers 85-70 at the Chace Athletic Center. Unable to keep the momentum from Saturday's win, Sacred Heart falls to 1-2 in the Northeast Conference this season.
Louis Montes (Brockton, MA) scored a season-high 28 points for the Pioneers, on 8-of-12 shooting. Montes made 8-of-9 free throws. Chris Evans (Stamford, CT) chipped in with 10 points on 2-of-12 shooting, making six free throws.
Alex Francis paced Bryant with 27 points on 12-of-18 shooting, while Corey Maynard added 19 points. As a team, Bryant shot a cool 53% (35-of-56) from the field.
SHU was sharp on offense early. After freshman De'Von Barnett (Waldorf, MD) converted on a free throw to open the scoring for SHU, Evans scooped in a lay-up to give SHU an early 3-2 lead.
Phil Gaetano (Wallingford, CT) found a cutting Montes for an early dunk. Montes followed that up with a deep three to take an early 10-7 lead. The senior forward paced the Pioneers in the first half, scoring 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including three from long distance. Steve Glowiak (New Britain, CT) drilled a three-pointer to give SHU its biggest lead of the game at 18-11 with 14:47 left in the first. Glowiak struggled from the outside, hitting just 2-of-10 from beyond the arc.
After beginning the half executing on offense, the Pioneers could not stop Bryant on defense and spent much of the first half trailing the Bulldogs. Alex Francis scored 14 first half points for Bryant. SHU took a short-lived 32-31 lead after senior forward Mostafa Abdel Latif (Alexandria, Egypt) put in a turnaround jumper. Bryant quickly responded with a 6-0 run.
Sacred Heart grabbed some much needed momentum into halftime after Gaetano dished out his sixth assist of the first half for a Mostafa Abdel Latif lay-up with three seconds left. Abdel Latif slipped a screen and Gaetano found him for an easy lay-in as the clock ticked down. Bryant took a 44-40 lead into the break.
Sacred Heart was again scoring to start the second half but could not muster any stops on the other end. Bryant began the second half hitting six of their first seven shots.
Abdel Latif pulled SHU within five early with a lay-up off a nice pass from Gaetano. Gaetano followed that up with a three-ball to cut the Bryant lead to 50-47 with 17:23 left in the second half. That would be as close as the Pioneers would get. Maynard scored eight consecutive points as the Bulldogs built a 62-51 lead with 14:12 left. Bryant stretched its lead all the way to 77-57 with a 27-10, capped off by three consecutive lay-ups from Francis. Sacred Heart turned the ball over six times during the Bryant run. Bryant scored 23 points off of 16 SHU turnovers
Sacred Heart would not inch closer than 11 points the rest of the way as Bryant cruised to the finish line.
Sacred Heart will look to rebound this Saturday as they head to Brooklyn to take on Saint Francis.
Notes: Louis Montes scored in double digits for the 50th time in his career. Sacred Heart outrebounded Bryant 44-32. Mostafa Abdel Latif has grabbed 8 or more rebounds in 7 consecutive games. The Pioneers played just seven players, the fewest all season. SHU has yet to win consecutive games this season.