Smithfield, R.I. (February 8, 2014)—Mount St. Mary's saw a second-half rally come up just short in a 78-75 loss at Bryant on Saturday afternoon. Rashad Whack hit six three-pointers en route to a team-high 21 points while Taylor Danaher had career highs of 19 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.
Bryant was able to grab control of the game with a 14-point run early in the second half for a 50-39 lead with 15:26 remaining. The Bulldogs stretched the advantage to 60-48 with 10:30 left after a pair of Shane McLaughlin free throws.
The Mount (10-13, 6-4 NEC) rallied, using an 18-to-6 spurt to cut the deficit to 66-64 with 7:22 left. Rashad Whack hit three three-pointers during the run, the third cutting the Bryant lead to two. After Alex Francis scored in the paint, Danaher slammed home a missed shot and Julian Norfleet converted in the lane to even the score at 68-68.
Trailing 71-68, the Mount's Byron Ashe nailed a three-pointer to tie the score with 3:23 on the clock. Bryant's Joe O'Shea answered on the other end with a three of his own to give the Bulldogs (16-9, 8-2 NEC) a three-point lead.
Bryant's Dyami Starks converted a tough drive with 1:13 left to make it 76-72, but it was Whack who answered with a deep three-pointer to cut the Bryant lead to 76-75 with 53 seconds on the clock. On the ensuing possession, Francis was fouled, and he hit one-of-two at the line to make it 77-75.
The Mount inbounded the ball to Norfleet, who drove the lane, but his contested shot was off the mark with four seconds left. The Mount fouled Corey Maynard on the rebound, and he hit 1-of-2 at the line to make it 78-75 with 1.4 seconds on the clock. The Mount's inbounds pass was knocked away, and Bryant was able to secure the win.
Whack hit 6-of-8 from three-point range in the game for his 21 points. Danaher hit 5-of-7 from the field and 9-of-9 at the line to tally a career-high 19 points. He added 12 boards to notch his first career double-double. Norfleet added 14 points and six assists with Ashe adding 11 points off the bench.
Francis led all scorers with 25 points and nine boards while Maynard and Starks added 16 points each in the victory.
The Mount shot 41.7 percent in the game and was 10-of-26 (.385) from three-point range. Bryant shot 52.8 percent while holding a 37-to-32 edge on the boards.
In the first half, the Bulldogs jumped out to an early 8-2 lead, but the Mount responded with a 9-2 run of its own to take an 11-10 advantage. Will Miller started the run with a three-pointer, which also included a pair of Danaher free throws, and buckets from Sam Prescott and Norfleet.
Bryant, however, scored seven points in a row to take a 22-16 lead. That run was capped by a Starks three-pointer. The Bulldogs held a 26-19 lead after another Starks jumper, but the Mount again fought back. Consecutive baskets from Norfleet and a Prescott free throw cut the deficit to 26-24.
Bryant scored the next four points, but again the Mount responded, this time with a 9-2 run to grab a 33-32 lead. Four different players scored in the run that Norfleet ended with a lay-up to give the Mount a slim one-point lead with 38 seconds left in the half. Bryant's Francis hit a pair of free throws on the other end to give Bryant a 34-33 lead at the break.
The Mount shot 44.4 percent overall and was 4-of-14 (.286) from three-point range in the opening half. Bryant shot 50.0 percent while holding an 18-to-12 edge on the boards. The Mount countered those numbers by scoring 14 points off 10 Bryant turnovers.
The Mount will host Bryant on Thursday in the second game of the home-and-home series. Tip-off is set for 7:00 p.m. at Knott Arena.