WALTHAM, Mass. -- Senior guard Gage Daye (Newark, N.J.), the number two scorer in Division II a year ago, dropped in 32 points and also dished out five assists as Bloomfield College held off Bentley University, the seventh-ranked Division II team in the preseason, 86-84, in the Bentley Men's Basketball Tip-Off Classic Friday night at the Dana Center.
Twenty-five turnovers, which led to 32 Deacon points, proved costly to the Falcons, who dropped their season-opener for the first time in six years.
Bentley, after falling behind by as many as 14 in the second half, battled back to within four or five points on several occasions in the second half, but couldn't make it a one-possession game until Dowling drained a long three with 1:59 left. That made it 80-77, but Bloomfield countered on its next possession, on a three-ball from Daye.
Tracey buried a triple with 1:13 left, and after a Falcon defensive stop, he missed his next three with the rebound going to the visitors. Junior guard Art Ellis (Magnolia, N.J.) sank two free throws with 16.6 seconds on the clock, making it 85-80, but Bentley's comeback bid wasn't over.
Sophomore guard Mike Topercer (Scottsdale, Ariz./New Hampton Prep) sank a corner three with 8.2 seconds left, drawing Bentley within two. Ellis missed a free throw with 6.9 seconds left, Dowling grabbed the rebound and was fouled by Daye. He made the first from the line with 2.5 seconds left, but missed the potential tying one, the rebound went to Daye and Daye completed his scoring by making the first of two from the line with 1.1 seconds left.
With Bentley out of timeouts, he intentionally missed the second, and Dowling's desperation heave at the buzzer was off the mark.
The Falcons led for much of the first half, with the advantage peaking at 19-12, but Bloomfield closed the stanza with a 9-4 spurt to take a 36-34 lead into the break. Bentley twice went in front during the opening minute of the second, on threes from Tracey and graduate student Mike Quinn (Oakdale, Conn./Montville HS).
Bloomfield answered Quinn's trey with a 19-5 spurt over the next four minutes and never trailed again.
Tracey reached his 21 by hitting eight of 16 from the field, including two triples, and three of four free throws. He also provided eight rebounds and five rebounds. Dowling's 19 included 11 in the final 6:45 of the game.
Quinn and Topercer also scored in doubles, finishing with 11 and 10 points, respectively, with Quinn's night also including seven rebounds, six assists and three steals. Sophomore guard Greg Jacques (Brockton/Brockton HS) chipped in with nine points in 11 minutes off the bench.
Gage, who used 26 shots from the field and seven trips to the line to amass his 32 points, also contributed six rebounds and two steals. The Deacons also received 15 points from junior forward Matt Wafula (Harlem, N.Y.) and 11 points, eight rebounds, five steals and five assists from junior guard Ahmad Harris (Linden, N.J.).
Bentley shot 56 percent overall, including 63 percent in the second half and 46 percent from outside the arc, but was hampered by first-half foul trouble and the carelessness with the basketball. Rebounds wound up even, both teams with 36, but Bloomfield's 13 offensive boards resulted in a 12-2 edge in second-half points.
In the first game of the night, Merrimack College vaulted out to a 19-4 start and cruised to a 95-81 win over Concordia College (N.Y.). Senior guard Darin Mency (Hagerstown, Md.) led the Warriors with 32 points (including the 1500th of his career), nine rebounds, six assists and two steals. Junior guard Roland Davis (Deer Park, N.Y.) added 22 for Merrimack and sophomore Argelix Gil (Bronx, N.Y.) netted 24 for the Clippers.
The two Northeast-10 teams exchange opponents Saturday night with Merrimack taking on Bloomfield at 6 pm and Bentley facing Concordia in the 8 pm nightcap.
At Waltham, Mass. (Dana Center)
BLOOMFIELD 86, BENTLEY 84
BLOOMFIELD (1-0) -- Gage Daye 11-26 5-7 32; Matt Wafula 7-11 1-2 15; Ahmad Harris 5-9 1-1 11; Ryan Rodrigues 4-11 0-0 9; Robert Young 4-5 0-0 8; Art Ellis 0-2 4-7 4; Terry Hicks 1-4 0-0 3; Jon Bradley 1-1 0-0 2; Mike Williams 1-5 0-0 2; Andre Green 0-0 0-0 0; Woody Eliezer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 34-74 11-17 86.
BENTLEY (0-1) -- Brian Tracey 8-16 3-4 21; Tom Dowling 7-12 3-4 19; Mike Quinn 4-7 0-0 11; Mike Topercer 4-6 1-1 10; Greg Jacques 3-4 1-2 9; Sam Leclerc 2-4 0-0 5; Kevin Kettl 2-2 0-0 4; Joe Fremeau 1-4 1-2 3; Dan O'Keefe 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 32-57 9-13 84.
Halftime: Bl 36-34; 3-point goals--Bl 7-23 (Daye 5-11; Hicks 1-4; Rodrigues 1-5; Williams 0-3), Be 11-24 (Quinn 3-6; Jacques 2-2; Tracey 2-6; Dowling 2-3; Topercer 1-3; Leclerc 1-3; Fremeau 0-1). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--Bl 36 (Harris 8), Be 36 (Tracey 8). Assists--Bl 13 (Harris, Daye 5), Be 22 (Quinn 6). Total fouls--Bl 16, Be 20. Technical fouls--None
Bentley Tip-Off Classic