Smithfield, R.I. (January 5, 2017) – Dan Garvin's free throw with just five seconds remaining proved to be the game winner as Bryant escaped with a 72-71 victory over Mount St. Mary's University in an exciting back-and-forth conference tilt Thursday night at the Chace Athletic Center.
Garvin turned away Junior Robinson's potential go-ahead layup with 10 seconds left on the defensive end and was fouled in transition on the other end as he headed to the line with the game tied at 71-71. After missing the first free throw attempt, Garvin sank the second to put Bryant up by one with five seconds showing on the clock.
On the ensuing possession, Junior Robinson raced down court and hoisted up a deep three-pointer as time expired, which just missed off the back rim, sealing the 72-71 victory for Bryant.
The loss for the Mountaineers was their first in conference this season as they fell to 4-12 overall and 2-1 in NEC play, while Bryant improved to 4-11 on the year and 1-2 in conference.
Four Mountaineers scored in double figures in the contest, led by Miles Wilson and Chris Wray, who tallied 18 points and four rebounds apiece. The double-figure night was Wilson's sixth in his last seven games, while Wray's was his third of the season. Robinson (16 pts) and Mawdo Sallah (10) were the other Mount players to reach double-digits, while Elijah Long added eight points, seven rebounds and a career-high eight assists.
Bosko Kostur led all scorers in the contest with 24 points on 8-of-13 shooting, while the league's leading scorer, Nisre Zouzoua, added 15 points and Marcel Pettway chipped in with 13.
Neither team led by more than six points through the opening 11 minutes of the second half before Bryant rallied for nine straight points. Kostur scored all nine during the stretch, including a traditional three-point play, as the Bulldogs grabbed their biggest lead of the contest, 62-53, with 6:24 remaining.
The Mount battled back with a huge 14-0 run over the ensuing three minutes, paced by nine combined points from Robinson and Wray, to regain a 67-62 lead at the 3:21 mark.
With the Mount leading 70-68 with just over a minute remaining, Pettway missed a putback layup and Long came down with the rebound before getting fouled by Zouzoua. After going to the replay monitor, the refs upheld the foul call on Zouzoua but also called Long for a flagrant foul for swinging his elbow and making contact with Zouzoua, which would give both teams a pair of free throws and give Bryant ensuing possession.
Long made one of two from the line, while Zouzoua knocked down both to cut the Mount lead to 71-70. On the next possession, Pettway earned a trip to line and converted one of two to tie things at 71 with 25 seconds left.
The Mount had the ball with a chance to go ahead on the ensuing possession, but Robinson was denied on a block by Garvin before Garvin was fouled on the other end in transition. Garvin made the second of two free throws to give Bryant a one-point advantage, and Robinson's potential game-winner on the other end back-rimmed as the Bulldogs walked away with the 72-71 win.
The Mount trailed 7-4 early in the contest before going on 13-2 run over the next seven-plus minutes to open a 17-9 advantage at the midway mark of the first half. Sallah ignited the run with a short jumper and Long and Wray followed with layups before Long converted a pair of free throws on the next possession to make it eight straight for the Mount.
Zouzoua's layup broke up the Mountaineers' stretch, but they answered with the next five points on a huge dunk from Wray in transition and a long three-pointer from Robinson to cap off the 13-2 run.
With the Mount leading by nine at the 9:18 mark, Bryant went on a run of its own with seven straight points to cut the deficit to two, 22-20, with 6:07 remaining in the half. The Mount outscored Bryant by a pair the rest of the way and headed into the break with a 32-28 advantage.
The Mount went 27-for-58 (46.6-percent) in the contest compared to 26-of-58 (44.8-percent) shooting for Bryant. The Bulldogs held the slight advantage in the rebounding department, 38-31.
The Mount continues NEC play with a matchup at Central Connecticut on January 7 at 3:30 p.m.