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Season-best shooting display lifts Bryant past Saint Francis U

Tristan Hobbes/Bryant Athletics
Tristan Hobbes/Bryant Athletics

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Redshirt-senior Byron Hawkins (Fort Washington, Md.) led four Bulldogs in double figures with 16 points, all in the second half, as the Bryant University men's basketball team evened its NEC record at 3-3 with a 76-67 win over Saint Francis U Monday evening at the Chace Athletic Center.

Junior Adam Grant (Franklin, Va.) scored 15 points, junior SaBastian Townes (Chesapeake, Va.) added 14 and freshman Joe Kasperzyk (New Haven, Conn.) chipped in 12 in the win as Bryant became the first Division I team this season to double its win total from 2017-18.

GAME INFORMATION
Bryant 76, Saint Francis U 67
Records: Bryant (6-11, 3-3 NEC), Saint Francis U (7-10, 3-3 NEC)
Location: Chace Athletic Center (Smithfield, R.I.)

COACH GRASSO'S COMMENTS
"I have guys who are better shooters than they've been. When you're in your gym, you're eventually going to have one of these nights. In the second half, we got it going. We were 7-for-9 from three. Eventually, that was bound to happen. We're not as bad a shooting team as we've been.

"Byron Hawkins stepped up and made some big shots and played like the player I recruited. I told him, 'that's what I expect from you.' When he gets in a groove and gets it going, he's a pretty good player. Today was one of those days for him."

KEY MOMENTS

  • Saint Francis used an 11-2 run to pull ahead by eight in the closing minutes of the first half, but Bryant trimmed the deficit to four at the break.
  • A 14-3 Bryant run gave the Bulldogs a seven-point advantage early in the second half.
  • A layup by Kasperzyk and three-pointer from Townes put Bryant up 71-61 with 2:33 to go. The Bulldogs would lead by at least seven the rest of the way.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Layups by Townes and freshman Nino Hernandez (Gardner, Mass.) put Bryant ahead 17-15 with 11:10 remaining in the first half.
  • An 11-2 Saint Francis run gave the Red Flash a 34-26 advantage with 1:38 to play before halftime.
  • Bryant would score the final four points of the opening half to head to the locker room within four at 34-30.
  • After a Red Flash basket to open the second half, Bryant rattled off a 14-3 run to go ahead 46-39 on a layup from junior Juan Cardenas (Medellin, Colombia) with 14:47 to play.
  • The teams traded the lead back and forth before three-pointers from Cardenas and Hawkins pushed the lead back to seven at 66-59 with 5:33 remaining.
  • Townes knocked down a three with the help of a friendly bounce to lead by 10 at 71-61 with 2:33 to go.
  • Bryant scored its final five points at the free throw line with two each from senior Taylor McHugh (Centreville, Va.) and Kasperzyk along with one from Grant.

STATS

  • Hawkins scored 16 second-half points on 5-of-10 shooting and 4-of-6 from three along with three assists.
  • Grant shot 5-of-8 from the field and grabbed four rebounds to add to his 15-point night.
  • Townes was 5-of-11 from the field and matched career-highs in made three-pointers (2) and assists (4).
  • Kasperzyk knocked down six of seven free throw attempts in a 12-point effort. The freshman guard is 61-of-74 (82.4) from the line this season.
  • Cardenas grabbed a team-high seven rebounds as Bryant outrebounded Saint Francis, 31-30.
  • Bryant shot a season-high 53.2 percent from the field, including a 12-for-18 (66.7) mark in the second half. Saint Francis shot 43.9 percent for the game.
  • Bryant was 16-of-20 (80.0) from the free throw line.

GAME NOTES

  • Hawkins was in double figures for the 13th time in his 16 games in Black & Gold.
  • Grant scored 10 or more points for the 13th time this season, while Kasperzyk and Townes each did it for the 11th game this year.
  • Kasperzyk made his first start since Dec. 12 vs. Hartford following a stretch in which he averaged 15.3 points per game in eight contests off the bench.
  • Hawkins' 16 points were his most in three games off the bench this season. The redshirt-senior scored 11 in the win over Saint Peter's (Nov. 12) and 12 at Brown (Nov. 25).
  • Bryant improves to 9-10 all-time against Saint Francis U.

UP NEXT
Bryant continues a four-game homestand Thursday at 7 p.m. when the Bulldogs host Central Connecticut. Tickets are available by clicking HERE.

Season and single-game tickets for home games at the Chace Athletic Center are available by clicking HERE or calling (401) 319-TIXX.

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