By Kiersten Laramee
This week Bryant basketball was able to acquire North East Conference (NEC) postseason tournament spots for both the Men’s and Women’s basketball teams. Both teams confirmed their spots this past weekend, Men’s clinching theirs on the 27th and Women’s nabbing their position on the 29th, but in very different ways.
Bryant Men’s clinched their spot in the tournament after a loss to Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday the 27th while away in New Jersey, a strange turn in events, losing in the last ten seconds. After tip off, the Knights missed the first seven of their shots from the field within the key, and Bryant was up 4-0 after four minutes of play.
Fairleigh was able to bring the game to a one-point difference, but was quickly shifted to a five-point lead in favor of the Bryant Bulldogs. All thanks to four points from freshman Benson Lin and a three pointer from junior Ikenna Ndugba, after Fairleigh had scored one layup, the score totaled 25-19.
Going into half time, Bryant led Fairleigh 35-27. Senior at Bryant, Juan Cardenas, had scored 10 points and was well on his way to being the leading scorer of the game. Just then, everything shifted going into the second half.
Fairleigh came back with a fire underneath them, scoring the first six-points in the second half, narrowing the score to 35-33. Cardenas came in for the Bulldogs though, with a three-pointer, starting to build another lead for Bryant.
Hall Elisias, junior at Bryant, helped grow this lead with a free throw bringing the score to 52-44 with only 11:35 left in the half. The Knights were able to rally and brought the game within four points. Adam Grant, senior, stepped in with a three pointer and grew Bryant’s lead to 69-62. This three helped Adam Grant secure the position of the second highest scorer, one less point than Juan Cardenas who scored 17 points.
With only 4:10 left to go in the half, Fairleigh came back to score 10 consecutive points leaving Bryant to flail and wonder exactly what happened.
The Bryant women’s basketball team played very differently just two days later when they to took on Fairleigh Dickenson’s Women’s team with homecourt advantage, ending up winning the match by keeping a fairly nice point cushion throughout the game.
Bryant started the game strong by holding Fairleigh at an arm’s length with a six-point lead for the first 9:16 minutes of play, until Fairleigh scored a layup to finish out the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the game started to pick up with Bryant scoring 17 points and Fairleigh scoring 13, bringing the score to 23-15. The Bryant Bulldogs had a comfortable eight-point lead going into half–time.
Bryant came out even stronger in the second half, scoring 13 points in the third quarter while Fairleigh only scored six. This gave Bryant a nice 16-point cushion, but Farleigh was not read to throw in the towel.
Heading into the fourth quarter scoring 9 consecutive points, the Knights quickly closed in on Bryant’s lead. All of the sudden, with less than a minute on the clock, Fairleigh brought the score within four points by getting a foul while scoring two-points.
The game ended with Fairleigh fouling Bryant freshman, Nicole Gallagher, leading her to score all four of her foul shots. Gallagher put herself over the top to be one of the highest scorers of the game next to Fairleigh’s Lauren Francillon, both scoring 13 points.
Bryant ultimately won the game with the final score being 55-47, leading them to move on to the NEC post season tournament.
As both teams head into the NEC tournament fans are hopeful to see Bryant basketball advance on to the NCAA March Madness tournament.