Men's Basketball Uses Second-Half Surge To Surpass Bryant

Behind four double-digit scorers, the Pioneers erased a 12-point second-half deficit to defeat Bryant, 74-65, Thursday night at the Pitt Center (Credit: Steve McLaughlin)
Behind four double-digit scorers, the Pioneers erased a 12-point second-half deficit to defeat Bryant, 74-65, Thursday night at the Pitt Center (Credit: Steve McLaughlin)

The Sacred Heart University men's basketball team rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit to defeat visiting Northeast Conference foe Bryant University, 74-65, Thursday evening at the Pitt Center. The victory improves the Pioneers to 15-11 on the year and 8-5 in league play, while the Bulldogs fall to 12-13 on the season and 4-8 in NEC action.

Aaron Clarke tallied 17 points to lead four Pioneers in double figures. SHU finished with 15 assists on 23 field goals and committed only nine turnovers on the evening. E.J. Anosike recorded his 14th double-double of the season for SHU, with 14 points and 10 rebounds. 

The Pioneers begin a three-game road trip on Saturday, traveling to LIU. That game is set to tip-off at 4:30 pm.

Turning Point

  • Clarke hit three-pointers on consecutive possessions, the second with 8:16 to play to tie the score, 53-53
  • Anosike followed a possession later with a jumper in the paint, that put the Pioneers back in front and SHU never tailed the rest of the way
  • The Pioneers made their final seven free throws, in the final 60 seconds, to secure the victory

Pioneer Points

  • Clarke hit 4-8 from behind the three-point line and shot 3-4 at the line for his 17 points
  • The sophomore handed out four assists and collected three rebounds
  • Anosike added two assists and two steals to his double-double totals
  • Zach Pfaffenberger scored a dozen points, a season-best, with a 5-7 shooting effort
  • Jare'l Spellman tallied 11 points and six rebounds, along with two blocked shots
  • Koreem Ozier collected a career-high tying nine rebounds, to go along with eight points

By the Numbers

  • Michael Green III led all scorers with 22 points, while Adam Grant tallied 10 for the Bulldogs
  • Patrick Harding had a game-high 15 rebounds and eight points
  • SHU finished with a. 48-46 edge in rebounds
  • The Pioneers were 21-27 at the free throw line, while Bryant went 14-24
  • SHU outscored Bryant 43-22 over the last 17:19 of play, turning a 12-point deficit into a nine-point win

First-Half

  • Kinnon LaRose started the scoring with a three-pointer from the wing, 53 seconds into the game
  • Charles Pride hit the second of two free throws at 17:50 to put Bryant on the board
  • The first Bryant field goal came at the 17:17 mark, a layup from Green
  • Spellman ended a 4:47 Pioneer scoring drought for the Pioneers, with a four-foot jumper, to give SHU a 5-3 lead
  • The teams traded baskets over the ensuing moments with SHU never trailing, until a Benson Lin triple at the 12:45 mark gave the Bulldogs a 10-9 advantage
  • Tyler Thomas hit a pair of free throws at 12:13 to put the Pioneers back in front and start a 9-0 over 2:08 of play to build an 18-10 advantage
  • Green ended Bulldogs scoreless drought with a basket in the paint at 7:33
  • Ozier drained a three with 6:50 to play in the half to push the SHU lead back to eight points, 22-14
  • The Pioneers scored only seven points the rest of the half, shooting 2-9 and turning the ball over twice
  • Bryant, on the other hand, hit 8-12 down the stretch of the first-half, including a three from Green with 1:23 to play in the half, to build an eight-point, 37-29, halftime lead

Second-Half

  • The Bryant run continued in over the opening 2:29 of the second-half, extending to 29-9 on a Grant fat break basket, that made the lead 43-31 – the largest for either team in the game
  • Harding converted a Grant pass at the 16:02 mark to give Bryant the final double-digit lead, 47-36, of the game for either team
  • Pfaffenberger scored at 15:42, starting a 7-0 Pioneer run, capped by an Ozier free throw at 14:11, to get SHU within 47-43
  • After an Anosike basket at 12:39 pulled SHU within three, Mikail Simmons hit a three for Bryant with 9:52 to play that put the Bulldogs in front 51-45
  • With the margin still six, 53-47, Clarke hit his back-to-back three pointers, at 8:49 and 8:16, to knot the score
  • Anosike scored at 7:38 to give SHU its first lead since 1:59 left in the first-half, 55-53
  • Green scored at 6:03, tying the score one last time for the Bulldogs
  • A Clarke free throw broke the tie, and started a 7-0 Pioneer run that saw Spellman hit a pair from the line, Clarke hit a jumper in the paint and was capped by an Ozier Jumper with 3:45 to play and the advantage, 62-55
  • Bryant would close within four points, twice over the next 1:46, the last time on an Hall Elisias' conventional three-point play with 1:59 remaining
  • With 60 seconds left, Anosike made the second of two free throws to make the lead 68-63
  • Clarke made a pair of free throws with 33 seconds left, Ozier a pair with 23 seconds left and Anosike free throws with 14 ticks remaining sealed the victory