BRYANT -- Bryant made sure there was no late-game heartache for Little Rock Central on Friday night.
A crucial second-half run allowed the hosts to break open a tight game and slowly pull away to beat the Tigers 59-47 in 6A-Central Conference play in front of a packed crowd at Hornets Gymnasium.
Junior guard Treylon Payne scored a game-high 20 points for Bryant (11-4, 2-1), which outscored Central 20-11 in the third quarter to build a double-digit cushion that was too much for the Tigers to overcome.
"The guys were really locked in, especially on defense," Bryant Coach Mike Abrahamson said. "We finished possessions with block outs and rebounds and did a good job of taking away what [Central] wanted to do. It was just a total team effort, and I think it shows that we're growing and progressing now."
Senior guard Rodney Lambert added 13 points and junior forward Catrell Wallace had 8 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks for the Hornets.
Senior guards A.J. Williams and Rajhon McIntosh each ended with 12 points for Central (10-5, 0-3), which has hit a wall of sorts since winning 10 of its first 12 games of the season. The Tigers followed up last week's overtime loss to North Little Rock in their league opener with a buzzer-beating setback to Fort Smith Northside on Tuesday. On Friday, Central was down by as many as 11 points in the first half but climbed within two in the third quarter. The Tigers, however, withered under a flurry of rushed shots and turnovers late in the period and never recovered.
"Central likes to get up and down the floor, but we did a good job of stopping them in transition," Abrahamson said. "When we missed, we didn't let them get in their running game. What we did [Friday] was the product of good practices, trying to become a team and really locking in to the process of how you go about your business to become winners."
The Hornets also welcomed back high-scoring guard Khalen Robinson, who'd missed the previous two games because of an ankle injury he suffered two weeks ago in Fort Smith. The junior was visibly slowed and finished with just four points, but Payne and Lambert provided Bryant with the offensive punch it needed.
Payne scored 12 points in the first half, including 10 in the first quarter, to help the Hornets hold a 23-20 lead at halftime. Lambert then scored nine points during a third-period boost that enabled the Hornets to turn a slim 31-29 lead into a 43-31 advantage heading into the fourth quarter. Bryant would build its advantage to a much as 17 (50-33) by the midway point of the frame before coasting the final four minutes.
Bryant shot 65.7 percent (23 of 35) for the game and outrebounded Central 36-23. The Tigers, who also got 10 points and 7 rebounds from senior forward Ky'lyn Arnett, were 18 of 44 (40.9 percent) from the field.
Sports on 01/12/2019
Print Headline: Bryant hobbles LR Central for victory