The men’s basketball team (5-4) faced off against in-state rival Bryant University (7-3) Friday, defeating the Bulldogs 72-60 on the road — their seventh win in their last eight matchups against Bryant. Bruno also defeated the University of Hartford (4-7) 65-51 Sunday, extending the Bears’ winning streak to four and giving the team a winning record for the first time this season.
After establishing an early lead, Brown led Bryant 44-24 at halftime. The Bears held onto their lead with efficient shooting from the field and from behind the arc.
Brown is now fifth in the Ivy League basketball standings, ranking above Penn, Dartmouth and Columbia.
With Nana Owusu-Anane ’25 and Dan Friday ’24 sidelined, Kalu Anya ’26, Kino Lilly Jr. ’25, Aaron Cooley ’25, Malachi Ndur ’24 and Paxson Wojcik ’23 started against the Bulldogs. Despite losing the opening tip, Bruno quickly took control of the pace of the game when Lilly and Cooley connected for an alley-oop to spark Brown’s offense.
Subsequent buckets by Wojcik, Cooley and Ndur extended Brown’s opening run to 9-0. Bryant scored their first points with a free throw with 16:47 left in the first half.
Brown continued to control the game with an 11-5 run, leading 20-5 with 13:50 remaining in the first half. With Bruno leading 35-16 with 3:50 left on the clock in the half, Wojcik assisted Perry Cowan Jr. ’23 for a deep three, extending the lead to 22. Lilly then beat his defender to the rim to give Brown a 24-point lead, the Bears’ largest of the game.
Brown led 44-24 entering halftime, with Anya, Wojcik and Cooley all scoring in double figures. Anya tallied 13 points and five rebounds, while Wojcik scored 12 points, collected two rebounds and dished two assists. Cooley scored 11 of his 14 career points in the first half.
The Bears shot 18-for-32 from the field and 6-for-16 from deep, while also excelling defensively, holding the Bulldogs to 9-for-32 shooting.
“I thought we set the tone right away defensively tonight. I loved the confidence we played with offensively in the first half,” Head Coach Mike Martin ’04 said in a statement to Brown Athletics. “We want to be a program that is continuously improving. It’s all about development, individually and collectively.”
The Bulldogs opened up the second half with a 7-0 run, shrinking their deficit to 13. But Lilly drew a foul and knocked down one of two free throws to end Brown’s drought with 17:02 left in the second half.
Shortly after, Lilly cut to the hoop and scored a layup to solidify Brown’s 47-31 lead. After a Bryant bucket, Wojcik hit a three-pointer, propelling Brown’s lead to 17 at 50-33. But Bryant continued to put up a fight, cutting Bruno’s lead to nine points with 3:15 remaining in the game.
“You knew Bryant was going to make a run there,” Martin added. “They are such a talented team.”
Lilly — who scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half — and Cooley hit consecutive threes to take control of the game, giving Brown a 69-54 lead with 1:46 on the clock. Despite a last-minute effort by Bryant, Bruno hung on to win 72-60.
Wojcik, Cooley and Anya all notched career highs in points, scoring 18, 14 and 15 points, respectively. Lilly contributed on offense and defense, tallying 15 points, five assists and five rebounds. Ndur made his first career start, leading Brown’s rebounding efforts with nine total. Wojcik, Cooley, Anya and Lilly collectively scored 62 of Brown’s 72 points.
“I enjoy it, I live for … big games (and) big possessions,” Lilly said in a statement to Brown Athletics. “You’ve got to go finish it. That’s basketball.”
“We had a great overall team effort to beat a really good Bryant team,” Wojcik wrote in a message to The Herald. “We set the tone defensively from the beginning and never looked back. On offense we got great shots and shared the ball and played confidently.”
The Bears secured another road victory Sunday at Hartford, beating the Hawks 65-51. Brown shot 26-for-50 from the field while holding Hartford to 19-for-49 shooting. Bruno also notched a season-high 19 assists as a team.
“Overall, we can definitely play more consistently at both ends of the court, but, all in all, dealing with a quick turnaround after an emotional win Friday, today is another sign we can be a good team,” Martin told Brown Athletics.
The Bears will aim to push their winning streak to five when they take on the University of Rhode Island Wednesday.