Visiting Bryant followed its depth and transition offense to a 69-50 victory over Little Rock Catholic on Tuesday night.
"Catholic played very well," Bryant Coach Mike Abrahamson said. "Our guys, it wasn't the prettiest performance, we just gave incredible effort all night long."
Catholic trailed 10-0 to start the game but kept pace with Bryant until well into the second half. It seized momentum midway through the third quarter and was within 35-31 after Ben Biernet's three-pointer.
A three-pointer by Catholic senior forward Jake Anwar left Bryant's lead at 39-34 with 2:48 left in the third quarter.
Bryant (13-9, 5-4 6A-Central) countered with an eight-point run that extended into the fourth quarter. The Hornets' lead was 47-34 after junior forward Catrell Wallace's tip-in with 7:25 left in the game.
Bryant led by no fewer than 10 points through the finish.
"They upped the pressure a little bit, and we had too many late turnovers," Catholic Coach Tom Ezzi said. "I don't think we were tired, but we had a little mental lapse there."
"You could see signs that our athleticism was a factor," Abrahamson said.
Senior guard Treylon Payne led Bryant with 24 points. Junior guard Camren Hunter scored 14 and junior forward Will Diggins 11.
"[Payne] is real good, but they have seven or eight guys who are also very good," Ezzi said. "They have enough that if you put too much on one, they'll beat you with another."
Senior point guard Warren Heird scored 13 points to lead Catholic.
Bryant struck early and piled on the points.
Payne's layup gave Bryant a 10-0 lead with 1:29 left in the first quarter, and Ezzi called timeout.
"Our keys to the game were stopping the transition, playing with poise and confidence, and keep them off the boards," Ezzi said. "Two of those, we didn't do very well. We got killed in transition, and I'll bet they had 12 or 14 offensive rebounds."
Catholic (7-14, 1-8) chipped away at Bryant's lead and was within 13-6 after senior forward Dylan Flanagan hit two free throws with 6:53 left in the second quarter.
"They kept us out of the lane a little better, and then they started scoring," Abrahamson said. "They got off to a rough start, but we knew they weren't going to go away."
Bryant's lead was 20-9 on senior guard A.J. Newburn's layup with 4:40 before halftime, but two free-throws by junior guard Mitchell Pruss and a rebound layup by Flanagan had the Rockets within 20-13 after their next two possessions.
Bryant responded with a layup by Hunter, but Catholic followed with a three-point play from Heird to cut the Hornets' lead to 22-16.
A layup by Hunter gave Bryant a 26-18 lead with 1:12 left in the second quarter, and a layup by junior forward Will Diggins at the buzzer made it 28-18 at halftime.
"Nobody outworks our guys," Ezzi said. "They work as hard as anybody, but when you play teams as talented as this, you have to find another edge."
"They make it hard to play against them," Abrahamson said. "They do, but we were eventually, over 32 minutes, able to impose our will enough."
Sports on 02/12/2020
Print Headline: Hornets take sting out of Rockets