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Bryant clashes with LIU in final game before NEC Tournament

Photo by DSPics.com
Photo by DSPics.com

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - The Bryant University men's basketball team looks to improve its seeding in the upcoming Northeast Conference Tournament when the Bulldogs close the regular season Saturday at LIU Brooklyn.

The Particulars
Opponent:
LIU Brooklyn
Location: Steinberg Wellness Center – Brooklyn, N.Y.
Date and Time: Saturday, March 2 – 4:30 p.m.
Watch: NEC Front Row (Gregg Caserta, Pat Boyle)
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Game Notes:
Bryant
Social Media: FacebookTwitter | Instagram | #12Seven4 | #NECMBB 

SCOUTING THE BLACKBIRDS
LIU Brooklyn enters its regular-season finale at 14-15 and 8-9 in the NEC. The Blackbirds clinched a conference tournament spot Thursday with an 84-55 victory over Central Connecticut. 

Raiquan Clark leads the NEC at 19.4 points per game while adding a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game. Jashaun Agosto ranks second in the conference averaging 5.0 assists per contest. LIU is second in the NEC in field goal defense at 42.7 percent.

THE SERIES
LIU Brooklyn leads the all-time series 13-6 and has won the last five matchups. The Blackbirds are 6-3 in Brooklyn. 

LIU took the first meeting of the season 79-70 in Smithfield Jan. 5. Four Bulldogs were in double figures in the contest led by 16 points from junior SaBastian Townes (Chesapeake, Va.).

WHAT'S AT STAKE
Bryant can finish the regular season as either the No. 6 or No. 8 seed in the upcoming Northeast Conference tournament. With a Bryant win and Wagner loss, the Bulldogs would be the No. 6 seed and travel to either Robert Morris or Sacred Heart. In any other scenario, Bryant is the No. 8 seed and will play at either Saint Francis U or Fairleigh Dickinson. 

LAST TIME OUT: ST. FRANCIS BROOKLYN 74, BRYANT 66
Junior Adam Grant (Franklin, Va.) scored 31 points, one shy of his career-high, but St. Francis Brooklyn held off Bryant in the closing minutes Thursday.

CARDENAS, GRANT PEAKING AT RIGHT TIME
Junior Juan Cardenas (Medellin, Colombia) turned up the offense in the month of February, averaging 12.6 points per game on 56.6 percent from the field and 54.2 percent from three. Cardenas added 6.4 rebounds per game over eight games during the month. 

Junior Adam Grant had his best offensive month of the season in February as well, averaging 20.0 points per game on 52.3 percent overall and 50.0 percent from beyond the arc.

FROM HAMPTON ROADS TO RHODE ISLAND
Junior duo Adam Grant and SaBastian Townes have led the Bulldog offense this year with Grant seventh in the NEC at 16.0 points per game and Townes ninth with 15.4. 

Townes and Grant, who have played organized basketball together since they were 11 years old, have combined for 17 20-point and three 30-point games this season.

BLOCK & GOLD
Junior Juan Cardenas leads Bryant with 46 blocks on the year, good for a tie for second in the NEC. In his first season with the Bulldogs, Cardenas has already risen to fifth in Bryant's Division I era in career blocks. Cardenas is eight blocks away from matching Papa Lo's D1 program single-season mark of 54 in 2009-10. 

30 AND 30
Junior Adam Grant's 31-point performance at St. Francis Brooklyn Thursday made him the third player in Bryant's D1 era to score 30+ points three or more times in Black & Gold, joining Dyami Starks (6) and Alex Francis (4). 

UP NEXT: NEC QUARTERFINAL
Bryant makes its return to the NEC Tournament Wednesday on the road at either Saint Francis U, Fairleigh Dickinson, Robert Morris or Sacred Heart. The full tournament bracket will be available Saturday evening. 

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