College Basketball, it's more than just a mania in March, it's almost a six month battle that provides entertainment from the start. A year and a day ago to date, the Bryant University Bulldogs, fresh off an NEC Championship and now elevated to the America East, traveled to Boca Raton to take on the Florida Atlantic Owl's.
Charles Pride was the lead scorer with 28 points, Jared Grasso was speaking to the media after the 85-74 loss, and FAU wound up being a final four team. The calendar year has passed and Charles Pride transferred to the St Bonaventure Bonnies, Grasso resigned after taking a leave of absence, and FAU was ranked 10th in the AP Top 25.
A lot has changed, including the outcome. That's because tonight, Bryant arguably just won one of the biggest games in program history.
This Bryant team has already faced some plenty of adversity since the start of the season. It began with Grasso, the coach who turned the program around, but ultimately stepped away from the game. Enter Phil Martelli Jr. Son of well-respected coach Phil Martelli, who served as the head coach at Saint Joseph’s from 1995 to 2019 and is currently the interim head coach at the University of Michigan. He lands his first head coaching role after spending the past five seasons with Bryant, including the last three as the Associate Head Coach.
He stepped up but it's been rocky to kick things off. They lost the opener to Manhattan, then dropped 140 against against the DIII Fisher College. They kept it close against Rutgers, and completely fell flat verse Boston College. But tonight, their 1-3 record doesn't matter.
Sherif Gross-Bullock and Earl Timberlake, two of the key returning starters, guide Martelli to his first big win. They both dropped double-doubles, alongside double digit scoring from Daniel Rivera and Rafael Pinzon. Hopefully, this win carries Bryant through the rest of their non-conference schedule before heading into America East play, but for tonight we celebrate. Queue the music - we ain't no puppies, we some DAWGS.