By Jared Piatnik
On Saturday, December 1st, the Bryant University Bulldogs basketball team played The University of New Hampshire Wildcats. Coming into this matchup Bryant was 1-5, while New Hampshire was 2-5.
In the beginning of the game things did not seem to be in Bryant’s favor. The Bulldogs were not shooting the ball well and fell down early 18-12. Bryant responded to this adversity by going on a 12-0 run to take the advantage 24-18. This was the only positive run Bryant saw in the first half because New Hampshire responded by ending the first half on a 21-5 run.
New Hampshire went into the half with a lot of momentum leading 39-29. Right after halftime, the momentum started to sway in the Bulldog’s favor. New Hampshire scored the first four points of the first half before Bryant went on an 11-0 run. This made the score 44-40 still giving the Wildcats the lead. Bryant would keep the score within seven until right about four minutes, when a key play happened for the Bulldogs. Bryon Hawkins, who finished with a team high 20 points, drilled a three pointer so Bryant would take the lead. After this shot, Bryant continued to dominate in the second half outscoring the Wildcats 46-26, which in turn progressed to become a 75-65 win for Bryant.
Some key performances from the Bulldogs came from Adam Grant and SeBastian Townes, along with Hawkins. Grant and Hawkins both contributed with 20 points apiece and three assists each. Along with this, Townes racked up 12 points and ten rebounds. These were all team highs. Freshman Joe Kasperzyk also chipped in 14 points, had five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Juan Cardenas also recorded three blocks which makes for the team high in blocks with 10 on the season. The Bulldogs shot 41.4 percent from the floor and 32.3 percent from three-point range. The Bryant defense held the Wildcats to 41.1 percent from the floor which is a career high for the black and gold.
Heading into this game the Bulldogs had been struggling to reach consistency. Every time Bryant would start to play well, the momentum would turn against Bryant. Coach Grasso had some comments regarding the game, “We’ve been fighting to get some consistency. Seeing the ball go through the net makes you play a little harder. We’ve really struggled shooting the ball this year, but it’s something we’re going to get through and start making shots. We get a lot of reps in, and we have better shooters than how they’ve shot.”
The second half of this game gives the Bulldogs hope for the rest of the season. They started to find consistency and outscored New Hampshire by 20 points in the second half. This is the spark that Bryant needed. If they keep this consistency up the Bryant Bulldogs future under Coach Grasso seems bright. Bryant’s next game is Friday, December 7th, when they head to New York City to face Columbia University. This will be a great test for the Bulldogs as Columbia is 1-5 coming into the contest.