KINGSTON, R.I. – The Bryant University men's basketball team was defeated by in-state foe Rhode Island, 97-63, Tuesday night in both teams' season opener.
Redshirt-senior Byron Hawkins (Fort Washington, Md.) led the Black and Gold with 16 points, while freshman Joe Kasperzyk (New Haven, Conn.) added 10 points and freshman Patrick Harding (Fairfield, Conn.) chipped in 10 rebounds in their Bulldog debuts.
Rhode Island 97, Bryant 63
Records: Bryant (0-1), Rhode Island (1-0)
Location: Ryan Center (Kingston, R.I.)
COACH GRASSO'S COMMENTS
"They made some shots early on and put us in a hole that we didn't get out of. Our team has practiced very well, so I didn't expect us to lay an egg. Because of the way we play – we shoot a lot of threes, we play fast – when we're not making shots, we're going to struggle. If we shoot 6-for-34 from three, we're not beating anyone.
"URI is good. It was a home game and they came out with energy. Their two guys [Jeff Dowtin and Fatts Russell] were the best players on the floor, came out and dominated the game."
- Rhode Island opened the game on an 11-0 run in the opening 2:19, prompting a Bryant timeout.
- Bryant would bring the score as close as five and trailed 41-30 before Rhode Island closed out the half on an 8-2 run, capped off by a buzzer-beating three, to take a 49-32 lead into the locker room.
- The Rams opened the second half on an 18-5 run, pushing the advantage to 67-37 with 13:58 remaining in regulation.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Rhode Island tallied the game's first 11 points in a span of 2:19.
- Baskets from Kasperzyk and junior SaBastian Townes (Chesapeake, Va.) cut the URI lead at 23-18 at the under-12 media timeout of the first half.
- Four straight points from Hawkins had the Bulldogs within eight at 32-24 before Rhode Island extended the lead back to double digits.
- The Rams closed the first half on an 8-2 run to take a 49-32 lead into the half.
- Rhode Island opened the second half on an 18-5 run to extend the lead to 67-37 at the 13:58 mark.
- The Rams would take their largest lead with 4:02 remaining, leading 91-53. Redshirt-sophomore Monty Urmilevicius (Kaunas, Lithuania) scored seven of Bryant's 10 points following the final media timeout.
- Hawkins tallied 15 of his team-high 16 points in the first half, shooting 5-for-16 from the floor and 2-for-7 from beyond the arc.
- Kasperzyk was 3-for-7 from the floor and 3-for-5 from the free-throw line for 10 points.
- Harding led the Bulldogs with 10 rebounds in his collegiate debut.
- Urmilevicius tallied seven points and two rebounds after entering the game with 4:05 to go.
- Junior Tanner Johnson (Lexington, Ky.) recorded six points and six rebounds.
- Rhode Island shot 48.6 percent from the floor, while Bryant was at 33.8 percent.
- The Bulldogs were 6-for-34 (17.6%) on three-pointers. The Rams were 13-for-27 (48.1%).
- Rhode Island outrebounded Bryant, 54-42.
- Bryant drops to 0-1 against Rhode Island in the Division I era and 0-4 all-time. The meeting was the first between the teams since 1986.
- The Bulldogs fall to 0-2 all-time against the A10. Bryant lost to Richmond in the 2013 CBI.
- Hawkins, Kasperzyk, Harding, junior Juan Cardenas (Medellin, Colombia), freshman Kyle Cardaci (Holmdel, N.J.) and freshman Nino Hernandez (Gardner, Mass.) made their Bulldog debuts in the game.
Bryant will travel to the West Coast for a Sunday meeting with Seattle. The Bulldogs and Redhawks will tip off at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT in Kent, Washington.
Season and single-game tickets for home games at the Chace Athletic Center are available by clicking HERE or calling (401) 319-TIXX.