SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Zach Fong drained his sixth 3-pointer of the day with just 4.6 seconds left in regulation to force overtime Saturday afternoon at the Chace Athletic Center, but the Bryant University men's basketball team would outscore Navy, 17-7, in overtime to even the all-time series with a 90-80 victory.
Fong opened the extra session with yet another trifecta for Navy (5-4) for a 76-75 lead after two made free throws from junior Joe O'Shea (Burlington, Vt.), and O'Shea would drop in a triple of his own to put the Bulldogs (7-5) up, 78-76, with 3:32 to play in overtime. Free throws from senior Corey Maynard (Adelaide, Austalia) and a layup from junior shooter Dyami Starks (Duluth, Minn.) added for more points for the home side, and a Maynard steal leading to an Alex Francis (Harlem, N.Y.) dunk as the clock ticked under two to play put Bryant out in front, 84-76.
Navy would have no choice but to being fouling the Bulldogs, who built up an 89-78 advantage entering the final 40 seconds. The Mids would close that gap to 10 points, 90-80, but that score would hold for the final margin.
The victory snapped a three-game losing skid for the Black and Gold, who were paced by 23 points of 8-of-14 shooting from Starks and a career-tying 22 points and five assists from Maynard. Francis chipped in 19 points and eight boards, while freshman Dan Garvin (Bethel, Conn.) put up 12 points to go along with a career-high 14 boards in his first start as a Bulldog. O'Shea added 12 points, three helpers and four steals to round out the double-digit scorers for Bryant.
Fong led Navy with 21 points (7-of-10 from deep) off the bench, with Worth Smith and Tilman Dunbar each finshing with 14.
Entering the second half with a 34-33 advantage, Navy would keep the lead for the opening four minutes, but a Garvin triple from the top of the arc with 15:50 on the clock tilted the score back to the hosts, 42-40. Garvin would put up the team's first block of the day, but a corner three from Venturini teetered the score in the other direction once more.
The Midshipmen would maintain a slight edge through much of the stanza but wouldn't pull away by more than two possessions, and with 6:31 remaining in the contest, Francis would lay in a bucket to cap off a six-point Bryant run and knot the game at 57-57. Bryant took over the lead at 5:18 on a Maynard trey dished out by Francis, and the hosts earned their largest advantage of the frame to that point, 64-61, just seconds later.
Maynard put the home team up by seven with two makes from the line with 3:21 to play, but Navy would not go quietly. Dunbar cut the lead to 68-65 with two freebies with 67 ticks remaining, and a triple by Zach Fong brought the visitors back within one, 71-70, with 11 seconds left.
And while Starks would hit both from the line after being fouled with 10.2 seconds showing, Fong would play hero for the visiting Mids, dropping in a deep 3-pointer to knot the score with just 4.6 ticks on the clock and force overtime for the Black and Gold for the first time this season.
Navy opened the game with the advantage, but Starks would keep the Bulldogs even with their opponents all on his own, scoring the team's first seven points. From there, the hosts would go on a 10-point run and keep the Mids stalled at seven for a 5:41 stretch, building a 15-7 advantage with 12 minutes to go in the opening frame.
But it was Bryant's turn to stall out from there, and the Midshipmen would keep the Black and Gold off the board for more than four minutes while making up the difference and then some to take a 16-15 edge. Starks would change the tide once again seconds later, though, scoring five quick points to tilt the margin back toward the Bulldogs.
Bryant would stay slightly out in front until Starks drained his third trifecta of the day with 5:23 to play before the break, putting the Bulldogs up, 28-22. That margin would hold entering the final 90 seconds, 33-27, but Navy would score the final seven points of the half to overtake the hosts and take a 34-33 edge into the locker room at the intermission.
The Blck and Gold shot a game-high 51 percent from the field and 35 percent from long rang (7-of-20), compared to Navy's 42 percent and 43 precent (13-of-30), respectively. The Bulldogs cominated the glass, outrebounding the visitors, 44-33, while outscoring the Midshipmen, 34-22, in the painted area.
After a stretch of five games in 11 days, the Bulldogs will get a bit of time to breathe, returning to the hardwood next Saturday, Dec. 21. Bryant will take on the University of Delaware at Madison Square Garden in the conclusion of the BlackRock Gotham Classic. Tipoff will follow a matchup between Notre Dame and No. 3 Ohio State and is slated for 9:30 p.m.