Saint Francis not only won for the first time since beating Pitt in the opener, the Red Flash found a way to beat the Northeast Conference’s best team Thursday night.
Saint Francis played well from start to finish and beat Bryant, 89-82, at DeGol Arena for its first NEC victory. Ronell Giles Jr. scored a career-high 21 points for the Flash, who led 43-40 at the half and held off every challenge by Bryant in the second half.
The Bulldogs came in 5-1 in the NEC and ranked No. 82 in the NCAA’s NET rankings. This week they were slotted as a No. 14 seed in the NCAA Tournament by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, as the projected winner of the NEC.
But Saint Francis outplayed Bryant from the outset, taking an early lead behind balanced scoring. Giles scored 21 off the bench, while Myles Thompson and Maxwell Land had 17 apiece.
Marlon Hargis added 14 points off the bench in his first game for Saint Francis after transferring from Holy Cross. Ramir Dixon-Conover had 11 points.
Michael Green III led Bryant with 24 points, while Charles Pride added 20.
The two teams play again Friday at 4 p.m.