NEW BRITAIN, Conn. – The Bryant University men's basketball team aims for a regular season sweep of Central Connecticut when the Bulldogs travel to New Britain Saturday.
The Bulldogs begin the final third of the NEC schedule and look for their first win in New Britain since 2017.
Opponent: Central Connecticut
Location: Detrick Gymnasium (New Britain, Conn.)
Date and Time: Saturday, Feb. 15 – 3:30 p.m.
Watch: NEC Front Row (Bruce Biel, Marc Robbins)
Live Stats: Presto Stats
Game Notes: Bryant
Social Media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | #12Seven4 | #NECMBB
SCOUTING THE BLUE DEVILS
Central Connecticut is 2-24 on the year with wins over Connecticut College and Wagner. The Blue Devils have dropped four straight with three of the four by single digits.
Ian Krishnan leads the Blue Devils at 13.6 points per game, while Greg Outlaw has added 9.2. CCSU ranks 346th nationally out of 353 teams in scoring margin (-15.9).
The Bulldogs and Blue Devils are meeting for the 23rd time at the Division I level and 36th overall. The Bulldogs hold a 12-10 advantage in the D1 series and 18-17 all-time.
Bryant defeated Central Connecticut 64-60 last Saturday in Smithfield with 13 points from freshman Benson Lin (New Taipei City, Taiwan) and 12 from redshirt-junior Hall Elisias (Valley Stream, N.Y.). The teams split the season series in 2018-19 with both teams defending home court.
LAST TIME OUT: SACRED HEART 74, BRYANT 65
Freshman Michael Green III (Bronx, N.Y.) scored a career-high 22 points, but Sacred Heart erased a 12-point deficit in the second half to spoil Bryant's bid for a road victory Thursday in Fairfield on CBS Sports Network.
RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF PROGRESS
Bryant's 12 victories on the year match the 2016-17 team for the fourth-highest win total in the program's Division I era.
The Bulldogs won 19 games in 2012-13, 18 in 2013-14 and 16 in 2014-15.
MEN OF STEAL
Senior Adam Grant (Franklin, Va.) and redshirt-junior Ikenna Ndugba (Boston, Mass.) are raising the bar for Bryant's Division I career steals record, with the top spot up for grabs at the end of the season.
Grant broke Corey Maynard's Division I program record for career steals Nov. 20 at Drexel and now has 134 for his career. Ndugba passed Maynard in the Dec. 29 game at Maryland and is up to 135 in his three seasons on the court in Black & Gold, moving past Grant with three Thursday.
HARD HAT HARDING
The 15 rebounds Thursday from sophomore Patrick Harding (Fairfield, Conn.) moved him to 396 for his Bulldog career and in sole possession of sixth in Bryant's Division I era. Thursday's effort marked the fifth performance of 15+ rebounds for Harding this season, surpassing the total of five by all other players in Bryant's 12-year Division I history.
Harding is averaging 9.5 rebounds per game in 2019-20 and ranks third in the NEC. He has collected 32.1% of potential defensive rebounds while on the floor this season, good for third nationally.
SO FRESH(MEN), SO CLEAN
Bryant's rookie trio of Charles Pride (Syracuse, N.Y.), Lin and Green rank second, third and fourth on the team in scoring and have combined for 31 games of 10+ points and six NEC Rookies of the Week, matching the highest total in program history.
All three freshmen have at least 10 games of 10+ points after Green's 22-point performance Thursday.
CLIMBING THE CHARTS
Grant knocked down a pair of three-pointers the Feb. 8 win over Central Connecticut to break Dyami Starks' Division I career record of 281. Grant's three-pointer Thursday gave him 283 to pass Chris Burns - who was an assistant coach in Grant's freshman season - for third on Bryant's all-time list and 40 back of John Williams' career mark of 323.
Grant passed Dyami Starks Jan. 30 for second on Bryant's Division I career scoring list. Grant now stands at 1,732 points for his career, besting Starks' 1,691 in his three seasons in Black & Gold (2012-15).
The senior ranks second in career minutes played at 4,041, 100 back of Alex Francis (4,141) for the most in Bryant's D1 history.
TURN IT ON AGAIN
After a start to the season slowed by injury, senior Juan Cardenas (Apartado, Colombia) has found the same rhythm the forward had for the stretch run a year ago. Cardenas is averaging 12.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game over his last eight contests with four games of 15-plus points. The senior has shot 43.3% from three during that stretch.
Cardenas has risen to fourth on Bryant's D1 career blocks list with 60 rejections, three back of Papa Lo for third.
HALL IN, BALL OUT
Elisias passed Papa Lo Thursday for second on Bryant's Division I career blocks list with 64. Elisias broke Bryant's D1 single-season blocks record Jan. 30 at Robert Morris. The junior from Long Island leads the NEC and ranks 12th nationally in blocks per game (2.8) and has recorded four of Bryant's top six single-game block totals in his first year as a Bulldog including a career-high eight vs. Navy.
Elisias has blocked 16.3% of opponents' two-point attempts while on the floor this season, which ranks second nationally.
Bryant's defensive efficiency (102.6) is second in the NEC and ranks 180th nationally in 2019-20 after the Bulldogs were last in the conference and in the bottom 10 nationally in each of the last two seasons.
The Bulldogs are 10-2 this season when holding opponents under 70 points. Bryant is 20-4 during Coach Grasso's tenure when limiting teams to 69 points or less.
Bryant leads the NEC and ranks 48th nationally in blocks per game (4.4), while ranking second in the league with 7.2 steals per game.
UP NEXT: MERRIMACK
Bryant returns to the Chace to host Merrimack in its penultimate regular season home game Tuesday at 7 p.m. on YurView New England and NEC Front Row.
Tickets are Bryant's two remaining regular season home games – Tuesday vs. Merrimack and Feb. 23 vs. Sacred Heart – are available by clicking HERE.