Bryant made things tough on itself late against Little Rock Central on Friday night, but nothing's coming easy for the Hornets nowadays.
Junior guard Khalen Robinson scored 19 points, including 11 over the final 10 minutes, pulled down 10 rebounds and handed out 5 assists as No. 2-ranked Bryant fended off a fourth-quarter surge by the Tigers to escape with a 49-45, 6A-Central Conference victory at a packed Oliver Fitzpatrick Fieldhouse in Little Rock.
Junior Treylon Payne added 12 points and sophomore guard Camren Hunter finished with 8 points, 11 rebounds and 3 steals for the Hornets, who for the second game in a row had to fight back from a halftime deficit to win. Bryant (18-4, 9-1) also trailed Little Rock Catholic at the break Tuesday before rallying, but Friday's comeback may have been just a bit more satisfying. Not only did the Hornets spoil the Tigers' homecoming festivities, but they also won at Central for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
"A lot [of] crazy things happened in this one," Bryant Coach Mike Abrahamson said. "It was homecoming here, and the environment was extra ramped up, but the guys just kept their composure and stayed focused. You can't always control what happens, but you can control how you respond to things.
"We didn't really play our best, but we found a way to pull out a victory."
The Tigers, however, made the Hornets work for it. Central (14-8, 4-6) used an 11-0 run midway through the second quarter to take a 24-23 lead into halftime. Bryant scored the first eight points of the third quarter, but Central's A.J. Williams kept the Hornets from extending their lead any further. The senior guard scored nine of his team-high 16 points during a two-minute stretch in the period to help the Tigers crawl within 40-34 by the end of the quarter.
Bryant later led 43-36 early in the fourth quarter until a Williams' three-pointer started a quick 7-0 run. His assist to senior forward Da'Jun Brewer tied the game at 43-43 with 3:57 remaining. Robinson answered with back-to-back baskets before a wild sequence unfolded.
A lay-up from Central senior guard Rajhon McIntosh with less than a minute left cut Bryant's margin to 48-45. The Tigers came up with a turnover and had a chance to tie it, but Hunter stole the ball from Williams with 13.7 seconds left and quickly called timeout. On the ensuing possession, Central was assessed a technical foul along the sideline while the Hornets were trying to inbound the ball. Robinson made one of two free throws to set the final margin.
"I thought our kids really stepped up late," Abrahamson said. "At the end when it's time to make what we call winning plays, we made them. Cam's dive on the floor and then get the timeout, that's maybe the play of the game.
"We just made plays when we had to have them because Central played really well."
Brewer ended with 12 points and 7 rebounds for Central, which shot 20 of 57 for the game. The Tigers also outrebounded the Hornets 39-34. Bryant finished 16-of-46 shooting but hit 9 of 15 from the foul line compared to 2 of 6 for Central.
TEAM CONF. ALL
Bryant ...............................9-1 19-4
Conway ............................8-2 17-5
North Little Rock ..............7-3 19-6
FS Northside ....................6-4 15-9
LR Central ........................4-6 14-8
Cabot ................................4-6 16-7
LR Catholic.......................2-8 11-12
FS Southside ...................0-10 5-18
Sports on 02/09/2019
Print Headline: Resilient Bryant fends off LR Central