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Simmons' steal and dunk lifts Bryant to win over Columbia

Victoria Brenchak/Bryant Athletics
Victoria Brenchak/Bryant Athletics

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Junior Mikail Simmons (Murphy, Texas) stole the ball, took it coast-to-coast and dunked it home with 7.8 seconds remaining to lead the Bryant University men's basketball team to a 67-65 win over Columbia Friday night at the Chace Athletic Center.

Simmons' steal-and-score propelled Bryant to its sixth win of the season, as the Bulldogs matched two other Bryant teams for the program's best 10-game start of its Division I era at 6-4. Senior Adam Grant (Franklin, Va.) scored 20 points, while redshirt-junior Hall Elisias (Valley Stream, N.Y.) added eight points, 11 rebounds and six blocks.

GAME INFORMATION
Bryant 67, Columbia 65
Records: Bryant (6-4), Columbia (3-7)
Location: Chace Athletic Center (Smithfield, R.I.)

KEY MOMENTS

  • The Bulldogs led by as many as seven in the first half before the Lions chipped away and went into the half on a 12-2 run.
  • Columbia led 65-63 before two clutch free throws and Elisias tied the game, and on the ensuing possession, Simmons stole the ball and took it the other way for the game-winner.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Three-pointers from redshirt-junior Ikenna Ndugba (Boston, Mass.), Grant and Simmons had Bryant in front 13-10 with 13:14 to go in the first half.
  • Columbia outscored Bryant 12-2 over the final 5:45 of the first half to take a 28-24 lead into the locker room.
  • The teams were tied at 35 before threes from Ndugba and Grant 29 seconds apart gave Bryant a 41-35 lead with 15:03 to go.
  • A three-shot foul gave Columbia back the lead at 53-52 with 7:57 to play before Green answered with a jumper.
  • Bryant led 57-53 and Columbia answered with the next six. The Lions led 61-59 before a second effort from freshman Benson Lin (New Taipei City, Taiwan) re-tied the game with 2:32 to play.
  • Columbia held a 65-63 advantage before two free throws from Elisias tied the game with 37 seconds remaining. Bryant had been 2-for-11 at the line prior to the pair from Elisias.
  • Simmons stole the ball off a high bounce outside the three-point line and took it the other way, dribbling it behind-the-back and flushing the dunk while being fouled for the game-winning basket.

STATS

  • Grant scored 20 points and added six rebounds.
  • Elisias' 11 rebounds were a career-high, while his six blocks gave him his third performance in Bryant's Division I top five in his first 10 games in Black & Gold.
  • Simmons scored a career-high 12 points and made two of Bryant's nine threes.
  • Ndugba added 12 points and five rebounds in 21 minutes before fouling out.
  • Sophomore Patrick Harding (Fairfield, Conn.) grabbed eight rebounds to help Bryant to a 48-44 advantage on the glass.
  • Columbia shot 39.3% for the game while Bryant shot 38.6%.
  • Bryant escaped despite a 4-for-14 showing from the foul line.

GAME NOTES

  • Grant scored 20 points for the seventh time this season and 30th in his career. The senior has scored 10-plus points in all 10 games this year and 75 times as a Bulldog.
  • Simmons was in double figures for the fourth time this season.
  • Bryant improves to 1-4 all-time against Columbia and 11-34 against the Ivy League. Bryant is 2-1 against Ivies this season.
  • Friday's attendance of 1,438 was the largest at the Chace Athletic Center since a Feb. 5, 2015 victory over Mount St. Mary's. Bryant has welcomed over 1,200 fans for three of its first five home games.

UP NEXT
The Bulldogs travel to the Bronx for a Tuesday matinee at Fordham. The noon tip can be seen on ESPN+. 

Bryant Men's Basketball 2019-20 season tickets are available by clicking HERE. The Bulldogs will return home Thursday, Jan. 2 vs. Saint Francis U in Bryant's NEC opener.

Follow Bryant University men's basketball on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to get an inside look at the program.