at Saint Francis U
2/1/2018 - 6:00 PM
CBS Sports Network
SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Freshman forward Elyjah Williams
delivered his best game as a Knight to propel the Fairleigh Dickinson men's basketball team over Bryant 89-78 at the Chace Athletic Center on Saturday afternoon.
Williams recorded his first collegiate double-double and enjoyed a full stat line of 16 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocks in the victory. Starting in place of classmate Noah Morgan
, the Evanston, Illinois native made his first start since November 26 and connected on all seven of his field goal attempts as the Knights shot 45.9 percent (28-of-61) as a team. The 14 rebounds are the most by a Knight since Williams' teammate Mike Holloway Jr.
pulled down 17 on March 5, 2016.
Five Knights (7-14, 4-6 NEC) scored in double figures led by junior guard Darnell Edge
's 21 points. Edge drained a career-high five 3-pointers on 10 tries in the win.
Freshman guard Jahlil Jenkins
also notched his career-best with 20 points to go along with six assists and five boards, Holloway Jr. had 16 points and eight rebounds and sophomore forward Kaleb Bishop
tallied 13 points and grabbed six caroms.
Bryant sophomore guard Adam Grant led all scorers with 25 points but shot just 7-of-26 (26.9 percent) on the afternoon. After draining six first-half 3-pointers, sophomore guard Tanner Johnson missed all four of his attempts in the second stanza and finished with 19 points and six rebounds.
The Bulldogs out-rebounded the Knights 46-40 and nabbed 23 offensive caroms but the Knights' aggressiveness on offense translated to a season-high 34 attempts at the free throw line, where they converted 26 for a 76.5 percent clip.
"That may quietly have been one of the best road wins that we've had here in my five years as a head coach," proclaimed Greg Herenda
following the victory. "We just played poorly on Thursday night and were down in numbers and we had two freshmen step up in a very big way. The first play of the game dictated the contest -- Elyjah was obviously ready for his opportunity to start."
"I thought we guarded well throughout except for letting Johnson go crazy in the first half. After the freshmen got us going, then Darnell opened things up from deep and Mike and Kaleb dominated in the paint."
Herenda concluded, "That was a great way to start this road swing and now we just have to continue to improve and keep this formula for finishing games."
Williams opened the game by driving baseline and finishing with a two-handed slam but the Knights trailed 20-10 seven minutes into action. The Bulldogs received a huge boost off of the bench from Johnson, who buried his first four from downtown over that span.
The Knights outscored the Bulldogs 17-7 over the next 10 minutes with Williams leading the charge. Williams made his first four shots and had four rebounds and three blocks with six minutes to play in the stanza.
Edge's 3-pointer from the top of the key put the Knights in front 30-27 at the 4:33 mark and then a Nadi Beciri
steal led to a Williams slam. The Knights would maintain a lead for the remainder of the half and carried a 36-35 edge into the break.
Williams filled up the box score in the first half with 11 points (5-of-5 FG), six rebounds, three blocks and three steals and Edge totaled a team-high 12 points on 4-of-9 from three-point range.
Johnson carried the Bulldogs in the half by scoring 18 points on 6-of-8 from downtown with four rebounds, while Grant tallied 10 points. The Bulldogs, who saw just four different players score in the half, shot 41.4 percent overall (12-of-29) compared to the Knights at 42.9 percent (15-of-35).
Both teams had success by scoring off of turnovers with the Knights tallying 14 and the Bulldogs 17 off of a combined 16 first-half miscues.
The Knights would build their lead up to eight, 52-44, after a three-point play by Williams with 14:36 remaining. The freshman forward fought his way through contact and eclipsed his previous career-high point total of 14.
After netting the eight-point cushion, the Knights missed their next seven shots from the field allowing the Bulldogs to eventually move in front 62-61 with under eight minutes to play. A three-point play by Ikenna Ndugba capped the stretch for the home team before Jenkins put the Knights back on top with a 3-pointer.
Jenkins' trey set off a 10-2 spurt by the Knights -- which included a long 3-pointer by Edge that made it a 71-64 game -- and the Knights would hold off the Bulldogs over the final five minutes.
The Knights continue their three-game road trip next Thursday, February 1 when they take on Saint Francis U in Loretto, Pa. That game will tip-off at 6:00 p.m. and air on CBS Sports Network.