December 20, 2008
RUTGERS DOWNS BRYANT, 67-37, AT THE RAC SATURDAY AFTERNOON
PISCATAWAY, N.J.- The Bryant University men's basketball team fell to Rutgers, 67-37, in at The RAC Saturday afternoon. Cecil Gresham (Bloomfield, Conn.) and Pete Lambert (Cumberland, R.I. / Cumberland) combined for 23 of the Bulldogs 37 points, while freshman Mike Rosario led the way for the Scarlet Knights with a game-high 18.
Rosario got off to a hot start, helping pace Rutgers to a 33-20 halftime lead, leading all scorers with 13 points on three-of-six from downtown.
But, Bryant stayed right with the Scarlet Knights through the first 12 minutes thanks to strong outside shooting by Lambert and Gresham, and inside scoring from Nick Pontes (New Bedford, Mass. / New Bedford).
After falling behind 17-9 with 9:20 to play in the first half, the Bulldogs battled back as Lambert knocked down his second three of the half to cut the lead down to five. Lambert finished with six in the half, tying for the team lead with Gresham.
Pontes followed up Lambert's three on the next possession with a great move in the post to score the bucket plus the foul, bringing Bryant back to within two at 17-15 with 8:12 left. Pontes played a strong half down low, finishing with 5 points.
Bryant cooled off at the tail end of the half, finishing the first frame shooting 27.3 percent from the floor, as the Scarlet Knights would then go on a 14-2 run over a six minute span to extend the lead to 31-17 with just over two minutes to play. Rutgers used a 21-12 advantage on the boards including nine offensive rebounds to help gain the advantage Bryant would knock down a few free throws before heading into the locker room trailing, 33-20.
Rutgers started the second half quickly, jumping out to a 20 point lead with a 7-0 run over the first four minutes, including five more points from Rosario.
A quick 5-0 run by Bryant, highlighted by a Gresham dunk, brought the deficit back down to 15 at 42-27 with 13:30 to play.
The Bulldogs played a much stronger second half on the boards, only surrendering 4 offensive rebounds while cutting the overall rebounding deficit to just five (22-17). Junior guard Chris Birrell (Scituate, R.I. / Scituate) finished with a team-high seven rebounds while putting in five points in 38 minutes of play.
A 13-2 through the middle of the half would put the game away for the Scarlet Knights, as they pushed the lead to 27 with 5:40 left to play, as the Bulldogs would not get any closer.
Lambert would connect on a late three, as he finished with a season-high 10 points while hitting three three's. Gresham ended with a team-high 13.
The Bulldogs will play in-state rival Providence College on Monday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center (7 pm).