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Bulldogs battle the Irish, fall 70-59

Monday, December 09, 2013


A true road test with a storied basketball program for the Bryant Bulldogs came Monday night, this time with the nation looking in.

Bryant traveled to South Bend, IN to face a pre-season Top 25 Notre Dame team in the continuation of the BlackRock Gotham Classic.  In front of a national TV audience on ESPNU, and an international audience in Australia, the Bulldogs jumped out to a couple of quick leads on the Fighting Irish.

Leads, however, they could not sustain for long.  Led by Jerian Grant's 21 points and nine assists, and double-doubles from Pat Connaughton (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Garrick Sherman (14 points, 13 rebounds), Notre Dame held off Bryant for a 70-59 win.

The Bulldogs led ND 25-21 with 8:50 to play in the first half after Joe O'Shea nailed a corner three-pointer.  But that would be the last one of the half to drop, as the Irish closed the half with an 18-2 run after switching from a zone defense to man-to-man.  Notre Dame took control of the game by grabbing a 39-27 lead at halftime. 

Bryant started quickly in the second half, capping a 7-1 run on a three-point play from Dan Garvin as the Irish committed three straight turnovers to pull within 40-34.  A Connaughton driving layup stopped the run, putting ND back up by eight.  6-10 center Sherman added two solid moves inside with a hook shot and drop-step lay-in to take the lead out to 48-39. 

But the Bulldogs never really went away.  Two Alex Francis free throws with 8:10 remaining pulled Bryant back within five at 50-45, and Corey Maynard - one of three Bulldogs from Australia - canned a three to make it 56-52 with 2:17 to play.  Grant hit a big trey for the Irish to stretch the lead back to seven with 1:29 remaining as Notre Dame managed to control the clock, and the scoreboard, most of the way.   The Irish (7-2) closed out by hitting their final 10 free throws to ice the game away.

Francis led Bryant (6-4) with 17 points, while O'Shea finished with 13 (held to just four 2nd half points) and Maynard had 10.  Leading scorer Dyami Starks, 8th nationally in scoring at 23.4 points per game, was held to 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting.  The Bulldogs hit nine treys (in 23 attempts) to keep things close, but were outscored 20-6 from the line for the game.

Bryant, having lost to North Dakota State 66-62 Saturday night in Smithfield, will continue its road swing in the BlackRock Gotham Classic by traveling to Columbus, OH for a game with 5th ranked Ohio State Wednesday night at 7:30 pm.  After a Dec. 14 home game against Navy, the Bulldogs will wrap up Gotham Classic play against Delaware at Madison Square Garden in New York on December 21.  The Bulldogs' next two games will again be broadcast on national and regional television, with Ohio State on the Big Ten Network and the Navy game on Cox Sports.


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Wally M

Glad to see Bryant fought hard. ND belonged in the Big East real shame theyu defected to the ACC. How much more$$$$$$ do they want: greedy bastards!!!!

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