Bryant used a pair of 12-0 runs in the second half to hold off the Central Connecticut men's basketball team, 65-54, in Northeast Conference action on Wednesday night. In a back-and-forth game that featured five ties and seven lead changes, the Bulldogs would hold Central to two field goals in the final 7:11 to claim the win.
CCSU falls to 3-17 overall and 1-8 in NEC play, while Bryant improves to 7-15 and 4-5 in league play.
Central was held to 33.3 percent (22-of-66) from the field overall and just 4-of-20 (.200) from three-point range. The Blue Devils outrebounded Bryant, 42-33, and had just 10 turnovers.
Cumberlander got off to a hot start and had two early three-pointers to help CCSU race out to a 12-3 lead. A layup by senior Tidell Pierre at the 14:48 mark gave the Blue Devils' their largest lead of the period.
The Bulldogs stormed back with a 10-0 run midway through the half. Bosko Kostur hit consecutive three-pointers and Nisre Zouzoua added one of his own to give Bryant a 15-14 lead at the 10:30 mark.
The Blue Devils would quickly erase the Bryant lead with back-to-back layups from sophomore Austin Nehls. CCSU led for much of the rest of the first half before two foul shots from Kostur and a three-pointer by Taylor McHugh just before intermission gave the Bulldogs a 31-29 lead at the break.
Cumberlander had 14 points in the first half and CCSU shot 11-28 (.393) from the floor and 4-9 from three-point rang. CCSU had a 19-13 edge in rebounding and outscored the Bulldogs, 14-2, in the paint in the first period.
The Bulldogs shot .444 (9-21) from the field and 7-14 (.500) from the arc before halftime.
Bryant's 11-0 run extended into the second half as the lead was pushed to 34-29 on a three-pointer by Kostur before Central answered with a 11-0 run over a span of 3:33 to retake the lead. The Blue Devils' defense limited Bryant to 1-of-9 shooting to open the second half. Junior Mustafa Jones had five points during the spurt and his layup at 14:08 made it 40-34.
Bryant came right back with 12 unanswered points for its first big run of the second half. Zouzoua opened the spurt with a three-pointer and added a pair of layups, including the basket to make it 46-40 with 9:53 to play.
CCSU responded with eight straight to regain a momentary lead following a jumper by junior Kevin Seymour before a three-point play by Zouzoua gave Bryant the lead for good with 5:58 remaining. He would run off eight straight points to open a 12-0 run and help Bryant build its lead to 54-48 and seal the game.
Zouzoua led all scorers with 24 points, while Kostur added 15 points and McHugh had 12 points off the bench. Bryant shot 39.6 percent (19-of-48) overall and 11-of-26 (.423) from the arc.
The Blue Devils host LIU Brooklyn on Saturday, Jan. 28, at 3:30 p.m. The game will tip off following the CCSU women's game against Bryant and is part of Alumni Day. Former academic adviser, Bobbie Koplowitz, will be remembered during halftime of the men's game.