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Bulldogs grab 50 rebounds, defeat CCSU

Photo by: DSPics.comPhoto by: DSPics.com
Photo by: DSPics.comPhoto by: DSPics.com

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Freshman Benson Lin (New Taipei City, Taiwan) scored 13 points and redshirt-junior Hall Elisias (Valley Stream, N.Y.) added 12 as the Bryant University men's basketball team matched the fourth-highest win total of its Division I era with a 64-60 victory over Central Connecticut Saturday afternoon.

Sophomore Patrick Harding (Fairfield, Conn.) and senior Juan Cardenas (Apartado, Colombia) teamed up for 23 of Bryant's 50 rebounds – breaking the program's record for an NEC game set two days ago – as the Bulldogs matched their best 24-game start since 2014-15. 

Senior Adam Grant (Franklin, Va.) knocked down a pair of three-pointers to give him 282 for his collegiate career, breaking Dyami Starks' Division I program record.

GAME INFORMATION 
Bryant 64, Central Connecticut 60
Records: Bryant (12-12, 4-7 NEC), Central Connecticut (2-23, 1-11 NEC) 
Location: Chace Athletic Center (Smithfield, R.I.) 

KEY MOMENTS 

  • Bryant used a 12-4 run to overcome a slow start and pulled ahead 25-18 with 5:35 to go in the first half.  
  • A three pointer from Grant capped off a 15-4 run for the Bulldogs to open a 16-point lead and pull ahead 46-30 with 13:10 left in the second half. 
  • Central Connecticut used a 9-2 run with under five minutes to go to dwindle Bryant's lead to 58-54.   

HOW IT HAPPENED 

  • The Blue Devils got out to a 6-0 lead before the Bulldogs answered with the next 10, including a pair of three-pointers from Lin to open up a 10-6 lead with 12:14 in the opening half. 
  • Back-to-back layups from Elisias expanded the Bulldog lead 31-22 going into halftime. 
  • Central Connecticut would quickly get back within five before a Green and-one layup and two straight baskets from Harding gave Bryant a 36-28 lead at the first media timeout in the second half
  • Cardenas hit a layup to give the Bulldogs a 10-point lead at 38-28.  
  • Central Connecticut used a 9-0 run to cut into the Bulldogs' advantage to pull within seven.
  • Lin knocked down four free throws to give the Bulldogs a nine-point lead at 55-46 with 5:32 left to play.  
  •  Central Connecticut pulled within four with 3:44 left to go before Ikenna Ndugba (Boston, Mass.) hit a jumper to give the Bulldogs a 60-56 lead.  
  • Bryant's lead was cut to two with ten seconds to go but Elisias iced the game with a pair of free throws to give the Bulldogs the 64-60 victory.  

STATS 

  • Cardenas tallied nine points on 3-of-6 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal.  
  • Lin made three threes and finished with 13 points.  
  • In the first half, Bryant as a team allowed zero Central Connecticut 3-pointers while outrebounding the Blue Devils 27-17. 
  • Harding grabbed 13 of Bryant's 50 rebounds, moving to fifth in Bryant's Division I history for rebounds in a season (223.)
  • Freshman Michael Green III (Bronx, N.Y.) was 3-for-3 from the free throw line and added five rebounds and three assists. 
  • Elisias added 12 points, five rebounds and two blocks in just 16 minutes. 
  • Bryant was limited to 33.8% from the field – the Bulldogs' lowest shooting percentage in a win since the Nov. 25, 2012 victory over Boston College (32.8%).
  • The Bulldogs outrebounded the Blue Devils, 50-35, for the fourth game of 50-plus rebounds this season.

GAME NOTES 

  • Bryant improves to 18-17 all-time against Central Connecticut and 12-10 since the Bulldogs' move to Division I.
  • Elisias (61) and Cardenas (60) both pulled closer to Papa Lo (63) for second in Bryant's Division I era in career blocks.
  • Harding passed Vlad Kondratyev and matched Grant for sixth on Bryant's Division I career rebounding list (381).
  • Bryant's 12th win of the season matches the 2016-17 team for the fourth-highest total in the program's Division I era. 
  • The Bulldogs improved to 21-4 in head coach Jared Grasso's two seasons when holding their opponent under 70 points.
  • Saturday's attendance of 1,662 was a season high.
  • Bryant raised a banner for the 2004-05 team that appeared in the NCAA Division II National Championship Game in a halftime ceremony. The Bulldogs welcomed back former head coach Max Good and a host of players from that team and others on Alumni Day.

UP NEXT 
Bryant begins a two-game trip to the Nutmeg State when the Bulldogs face Sacred Heart Thursday at 5 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. 

Tickets for the final two regular season home games – Feb. 18 vs. Merrimack and Feb. 23 vs. Sacred Heart – are available by clicking HERE.

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