Bryant edged out by Mount, 64-60

Bryant edged out by Mount, 64-60

Bulldogs fall just short on road, drop 64-60 decision to Mount St. Mary's Saturday

EMMITSBURG, Md. – Junior Raphael Jordan (Bel Air, Md.) scored a game-high 17 points off 7-of-8 shooting to lead three Bulldogs in double figures, but Mount St. Mary's shot 54.2 percent in the second half to outscore the Bryant University men's basketball team in the final 20 minutes and escape with a 64-60 win at Knott Arena Saturday in Northeast Conference play.

Jordan scored 14 of his 17 points in the second frame, while sophomore Alex Francis (Harlem, N.Y.) and junior Frankie Dobbs (Berea, Ohio) also chipped in double-digit point figures for the Bulldogs (2-15, 1-5 NEC), with 16 and 12, respectively. The visitors took a 31-30 lead into the halftime break but were outscored in the second frame, 34-29. Mount St. Mary's (4-13, 2-4) was paced by 26 points from Julian Norfleet and also saw three recorded double-digit points.

The Bulldogs got the quick start out of the gate, taking a 7-2 lead in the opening three minutes. Bryant would stay out ahead of its host all frame long, but the half wouldn't be without snags for the Black and Gold.

A steal at midcourt from Francis led to a breakaway dunk to other way, the sophomore's second-straight jam, spotting the Bulldogs a 15-11 edge with 13:53 to play in the opening stanza.

The visitors would grow that lead to a game-high 10 points, 29-19, as the clock ticked down to the 6:51 mark, but Bryant would score just once more in the remainder of the frame – a floater in the paint from junior guard Dan Calandrillo (Leonardo, N.J.) with 4:16 to play – opening up the opportunity for Mount St. Mary's to get right back in the game before the intermission.

And using an 11-2 run over the final seven minutes, that is exactly what the Mountaineers did. Four different Mount St. Mary's players scored in the stretch, including five-straight points from Norfleet, as the Bulldogs went 0-5 from the floor – with four of those takes coming from 3-point land – to take just a 31-30 edge into the locker room at the break.

The Bulldogs shot 48.1 percent in the first half, paced by 12 points from Francis, who started the game a perfect 5-for-5 from the floor and recorded 10 of team's first 19 points. Norfleet collected 10 points to pace the home side, who outrebounded the Black and Gold by a 20-12 margin in the frame.

But the Mount would continue its run out of the intermission, scoring the first points of the frame to take the home side's first lead of the contest, 32-31. Before the Bulldogs scored again, Mount St. Mary's run would extend to 16-2 and span both halves for a 35-31 edge and 18:41 left to play.

And after making just one of 10 long ball attempts in the first half, the Mountaineers could hardly miss from 3-point range to open the second, going 3-for-6 from beyond the arc over the first four minutes.

Jordan would pull the Bulldogs back within three, 41-38, at the 16:04 mark, scoring seven-straight points for the visitors, and from there, no team would lead by more than five points, as the sides battled back and forth deep into the game's waning seconds.

But entering the final minute, Mount St. Mary's held the edge, a two-point, 60-58 lead, one that Josh Castellanos upped to four points when he banked home a jumper two seconds later. Francis had a chance to cut the game to two at the free throw line with 48 seconds left, but the sophomore couldn't find net, and the Bulldogs were forced to send the Mountaineers to the free throw line, where they went 2-for-4 down the stretch. Rookie Ben Altit (Herzeliya, Israel) would get a layup with 13 seconds remaining, but it was too little for the Bulldogs, who would fall in a 64-60 final.

Bryant shot 46.3 percent from the floor in the contest but struggled from the free throw line, going just 4-of-11 on the afternoon. Mount St. Mary's finished the day 48.1 percent from the field and outrebounded the Bulldogs, 37-26.

Bryant will stay on the road for one final game before returning to Smithfield, R.I., traveling to New Britain, Conn., for a Thursday night rematch against Central Connecticut (7 p.m.).