SMITHFIELD, RI – Army shot just 39 percent overall and went 6-for-26 (.231) from three-point range in its 70-59 loss to Bryant in men’s basketball action at the Chace Athletic Center Saturday afternoon. The Black Knights, playing their third straight road game, dropped to 3-3 on the season, while Bryant claimed its fourth straight win to improve to 4-2.
Army senior Ella Ellis scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Black Knights in both statistical categories. Ellis was Army’s only double-digit scorer in the game as the Black Knights posted a season-low scoring total. Ellis also dished out a team-high three assists.
Bryant had four players in double figures led by Dyami Starks’s 20 points. Frankie Dobbs added 19, while Alex Francis and Joe O’Shea tallied 17 and 12, respectively. The Bulldogs shot 44.6 percent for the game, outscoring Army in the paint, 38-24. Dobbs, Francis and O’Shea each had six rebounds, and Corey Maynard handed out a game-high five assists.
"We got outplayed by a more veteran team," Army head coach Zach Spiker said. "Dobbs, Starks and Francis really took it to us today. It’s a teachable moment for our younger players."
The Black Knights out-rebounded Bryant, 40-35, but turned it over 16 times. The Bulldogs also outscored Army 12-0 in fastbreak points.
Army struggled at the start, hitting just three of its first 15 shots, including seven straight misses from three-point range. The Black Knights scored first on a bucket by Springer, but Bryant came back with five straight to take the lead they would not give up for the remainder of the contest.
After an Army basket cut the deficit to 5-4, the Bulldogs went on a 14-3 run capped by a three-point play by Francis to claim a 19-7 lead with 9:40 to go. The Black Knights went five minutes, 43 seconds without a field goal during the spurt. Ellis’s first three-pointer of the game snapped Army’s 0-for-7 start from deep, but back-to-back triples by Starks and Dobbs pushed the Bulldogs’ lead to 15, their largest of the half, at 27-12 with 7:27 left on the first-half clock.
The teams traded three-pointers before the Black Knights scored seven straight on a three-pointer by Toth and baskets by Andrew Stire and Matt Gramling to cut the margin back to single digits at 30-22 with 2:33 left. Francis scored the final basket of the half with 1:41 left to make it a 32-22 game. The Bulldogs had two chances to score in the closing moments, but came up empty on two shot attempts.
Jordan Springer led Army with four points in the first half. Starks and Francis each had nine to pace the Bulldogs. The Black Knights shot just 28 percent (8-29) in the first half, including a 3-for-15 mark from three-point range. Bryant started the half 12-for-20 overall and 5-for-11 from deep, but made just one of its last eight shots, including five missed triples.
Ellis started the second half with a three-pointer to make it a seven-point game, but that was as close as Army would come. Five straight by the Bulldogs sparked a 14-5 run that put the Bulldogs on top by 16 at 46-30 with 15:29 to go. Starks scored seven points during the run.
The Black Knights fought back with eight of the next 10 points to cut the deficit to ten at 48-38, but the Bulldogs answered again with the next five points to reclaim a 15-point advantage with 7:26 on the clock. Army had one more run, trimming the lead to single digits at 53-44, but the Bulldogs stopped the run and reclaimed a double-digit lead they would keep the remainder of the game.
"There were a handful of times where if we got a bucket or a stop, we could have made a run," Spiker said. "We just couldn’t get enough stops on the defensive end. We need to be much better defensively to have a chance going forward."