Peter Kiss and Bryant ripped Sacred Heart, 85-55 (Photo: Kevin McNamara)
By KEVIN McNAMARA
Down two starters? No problem for the Bryant Bulldogs.
Playing without starting guards Michael Green and Chris Childs, the Bulldogs dipped into their bench and came up roses Saturday in a 85-55 blowout of Sacred Heart at the Chace Center. The Bulldogs advance to the one Northeast Conference game that everyone wants to play in: Tuesday’s Championship final.
“I’ll play Tuesday night in Smithfield, Tuesday night in Staten Island (at Wagner) or Tuesday night in Sioux Falls,” said Bryant coach Jared Grasso.
Due to COVID restrictions and injuries the Bulldogs (15-5) were down to seven players. After watching four of his five starters play 35 or more minutes, lack of depth isn’t a reason this team is going to drop a game in the NEC. Veterans Peter Kiss (19 points), Hall Elisias (18 points, 9 rebounds) and Charles Pride (16 points, 11 rebounds) came up big. The pair of Luis Hurtado (12 points) handled the bulk of the ballhandling duties and Pawtucket freshman Erickson Bans (13 points) provided some spark as the Bulldogs rolled.
Bryant shot 63 percent from the floor and weren’t threatened after a push late in the first half. The Bulldogs led 39-28 at the half but a 25-5 start to the second half blew this one open.
That Bryant could hang up 85 points and only make 7 3-pointers points to a change in offensive attack. Instead of bombing away the Bulldogs looked to touch the paint and hurt the Pioneers close to the rim.
“We just kept saying `attack the rim, attack the rim,” Grasso said. “We didn’t see a lot of rim protection.”
Asked if starting guards Green and Childs could be cleared for Tuesday’s nationally televised championship game (7 p.m., ESPN), Grasso said “that’s the million dollar question.”