WRITTEN BY BRYAN FONSECA
After shooting only 33.3% in the game’s first half, the St. Francis Terriers men’s basketball team erupted for 52 second half points for a 79-72 victory over the Bryant Bulldogs. Senior forward Antonio Jenifer poured on a career-high 24 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds in the win, recording his fifth double-double of the season.
“I did the same routine (before the game), it just so happens that my shot was falling, and it was just a good day for me,” he said. “Coaches got on us and we picked it up in the second half and came out with the win.”
Also in the victory, forward Amdy Fall made history, blocking a game-high eight shots, which also tied his season-best mark. Fall became the second Terrier ever to record 200 blocks for his career, and his 202 stands as the highest mark for anyone who played less than four seasons on Remsen Street.
“Sometimes you get a good feel. When you go out and try to challenge every shot, it just comes to you,” Fall said. “Sometimes you’ve just got to put your hands up and be there, you’ll get blocks.”
With the victory, the Terriers now improve to (14-16, 10-7 NEC), and are tied for second in the Northeast Conference with one game left in the regular season.
“We’re trying to get the highest seed possible and get ready for the playoffs,” Terriers head coach Glenn Braica said. “We’ve just got to try and win them all.”
The Terriers came out flat offensively and only posted nine points in the game’s ten minutes. Bryant’s largest lead was an 18-9 point advantage over SFC with 9:55 to go in the first.
Heading into the halfway point, the Terriers trailed 29-27, and were only shooting 9-of-27 from the floor and 1-of-13 from three-point land.
In the second, the Terriers immediately stormed out to gain the lead, forcing an early Bryant timeout, leading 36-31 within minutes. Bryant made the game interesting late, cutting the deficit to two points on multiple occasions down the stretch despite trailing by double-digits earlier in the half.
The Terriers ultimately sealed the game with late free throws, many of which were nailed by point guard Yunus Hopkinson, who finished with 17 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe.
The Terriers capped-off the seven-point win having shot 17-of-30 (56.7%) from the field in the second half, and finished 22-of-27 (81.5%) from the foul-line.
“Seeing the ball go in the rim is definitely a confidence booster, that definitely helped me in the second half,” Hopkinson said. “We have guys that could fill it up; Tone stepped up today, Chris did what he does all the time, so at the end of the day, it doesn’t have to be only one person.”
Another key contribution came from forward Chris Hooper, who finished with 15 points, six rebounds and four assists. Of course, Hooper maintained his efficiency, shooting 6-of-10 from the floor.
“That’s what I do, I bring the double teams and triple teams and get my teammates the open shots, that’s what coach has me out there for,” Hooper said. “I can get a triple-double, who knows?”
Guard Nisre Zouzoua, who scored a team-high 23 points and dished out four assists, led Bryant. Forward Marcel Pettway added 17 points and eight rebounds. Guard Hunter Ware also provided a spark, adding 14 points, four assists and three steals.
The final game of the regular season will determine if the Terriers can get a home game in the playoffs, and a win could potentially give them the second-seed in the conference.
“We learn from the games that we lost, and even the games we’ve won,” Hooper added. “We’re still not the best yet, we still haven’t peaked.”
Saturday at 4 p.m., the Terriers will host Mount Saint Mary’s at The Pope. The Mount currently sit at (10-7) in the NEC.