WRITTEN BY MIN LEE
St. Francis defeated Bryant 72-61 in final home game of the 2010-2011 season.
Three seniors: Alex Harrington, Akeem Bennett and Ricky Cadell were honored before the game as they close out their college careers.Bryant entered the game with a 9-20 record, last in the Northeast Conference. The Terriers finished their season a game above .500, placing fifth in the conference.
The starting seniors all got off to hot starts, collectively shooting 5 of 10 for a combined 13 points.Guards Ricky Cadell and Akeem Bennett connected on four of the six three-pointers by half. Both had eight points each by the end of the first half. Sophomore Travis Nichols lead all scorers with 10 at halftime. The Terriers led 33-19. St. Francis’ defense looked solid, holding Bryant to 14% shooting.
Bryant started to come alive in the second half connecting on six of their first eight shots, briefly cutting the lead to just five with 14 minutes to play. St. Francis managed to keep the lead with their own barrage of three pointers. Bryant forward Alex Francis helped cut the deficit to three with with 10 minutes left in regulation. He finished with a game high 21 points and 10 rebounds.
St. Francis guard Ricky Cadell capitalized with a three to put the lead back up to five. Nichols had a pair of key offensive rebounds down the stretch to keep the Terriers in the lead. Nichols finished with 15 points off the bench.
Bryant stayed within striking distance by getting to the line but failed to make their free throws. The Bulldogs collectively shot 16 of 27 from the free throw line. A timely three by St. Francis forward Stefan Perunicic and reverse dunk by Bennett put the final touches on the game.
Head coach Glenn Braica took a final time out for one last congratulations for the three seniors. Cadell finished with 18 points, becoming St. Francis College’s all-time leading scorer, passing Darwin Purdy.
St. Francis cliched the number five seed for the NEC tournament with a 15-14 record. Though the Terriers lost in the first round of the playoffs, this season was a major turnaround for the team.