ALBANY, N.Y. -- Senior forward Brian Tracey (Bow Mar, Colo./Heritage HS) led the team in points (15), rebounds (11) and assists (4), and the Falcon bench turned in a strong effort, as Bentley University rolled to an 83-60 win over the College of Saint Rose in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Wednesday night at the Nolan Gymnasium.
The Falcon bench poured in 43 points, including 26 during a first half in which Bentley built a commanding 39-17 lead. Sophomores Greg Jacques (Brockton, Mass./St. Sebastian's HS) and Dan O'Keefe (Lexington, Mass./Lexington HS) each had 13 points to lead the way, and freshman guard Jasper Grassa (Lynn, Mass./Lynn Classical HS) netted a dozen, all before the halftime break.
Bentley, ranked number one in the NCAA Division II East Region, ran its record to 14-4 overall (including 8-1 on the road) and 12-2 in the NE-10, maintaining a one-game lead over second-place American International.
Saint Rose, which needed 14 points in the final three minutes just to reach 60, had entered the contest with eight wins and an 88 point-per-game scoring average in nine games on its home court. With the loss, the Golden Knights dipped to 13-6 overall and 8-6 in the conference.
The Falcons were in control virtually from the start, using a 27-7 explosion to triple the Golden Knights after 14 minutes of play, 27-9. Bentley shot 59 percent over that stretch and had a 15-5 rebounding advantage while Saint Rose had more turnovers (5) than field goals (4) at that juncture.
The early surge began with a nine-foot fall-away from senior guard Tom Dowling (Rockville Centre, N.Y./South Side HS) and a basket from grad student Mike Quinn (Oakdale, Conn./Montville HS). Jacques followed with two free throws and O'Keefe netted the next four, the first two on a fast break dunk after a Grassa steal, to make it 11-2.
With the score at 15-7, Bentley stretched the lead to 18 by tallying 12 of the next 14 points. O'Keefe had four of the 12 and four others also provided points during that surge.
Grassa erupted for 12 points in the final 4:20 of the first half as Bentley continued to build on its lead. He connected three times from downtown and also made three free throws after getting fouled while attempting another triple.
In that opening half, Bentley shot 56 percent and had as many points off turnovers (17) as the Golden Knights had in total. Saint Rose, during the first 20 minutes, shot only 29 percent, turned the ball over nine times and didn't record a single assist.
Threes from Tracey and junior guard Sam Leclerc (Fayette, Maine/Winthrop HS) in the opening minute of the second made it a 45-20 game. Saint Rose responded with an 11-2 run, fueled by junior guard Rob Gutierrez (Brooklyn, N.Y.) to get within 16, but any hopes of a comeback were quickly dashed.
Bentley responded by scoring the next 13 points, making it a 60-31 game with 12 minutes left. Most of that damage was done by the bench with five apiece from Jacques and O'Keefe.
The lead eventually peaked at 34, 80-46, before a late run by Saint Rose cut the final spread to 23.
Tracey achieved his 15 points on five-of-eight shooting with two three-pointers. Jacques' night also included four steals, five rebounds, three assists and no turnovers, and O'Keefe made five of his nine shots. Joining those three and Grassa in doubles was Leclerc with 11 points on four-of-five accuracy, with three treys.
Gutierrez led all scorers with 20 points, all but two coming in the second half.
Bentley, which outshot the Knights 49-43 percent for the game, finished with more steals (12) than turns (10). The Falcons had a 26-12 advantage in points off turnovers (with eight of Saint Rose's coming in the final three minutes) and ten more second-chance points (16-6).
Bentley is back at home on Saturday for a 3:30 meeting with Pace University.
At Albany, N.Y. (Daniel P. Nolan Gymnasium)
BENTLEY 83, SAINT ROSE 60
BENTLEY (14-4, 12-2 NE-10) -- Brian Tracey 5-8 3-5 15; Dan O'Keefe 5-9 2-3 13; Greg Jacques 4-7 4-6 13; Jasper Grassa 3-7 3-3 12; Sam Leclerc 4-5 0-0 11; Tom Dowling 3-5 3-6 9; Mike Topercer 1-2 0-0 3; Joe Fremeau 0-2 3-4 3; Mike Quinn 1-7 0-0 2; Jacob Moore 1-2 0-0 2; Andrew Gosselin 0-1 0-0 0; Kevin Kettl 0-0 0-0 0; Mikerson Laurent 0-0 0-0 0; Jose Diaz 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-55 18-27 83.
SAINT ROSE (13-6, 8-6 NE-10) -- Rob Gutierrez 7-15 5-5 20; Shea Bromirski 5-10 0-0 13; Kareem Thomas 4-8 1-2 10; Devin Grimes 3-5 2-2 8; Andre Pope 2-5 1-2 6; Dominykas Milka 1-3 1-2 3; Sheldon Griffin 0-1 0-0 0; Andy Pelletier 0-0 0-0 0; Brian Hanuschak 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 22-51 10-13 60.
Halftime: B 39-17; 3-point goals--B 11-30 (Grassa 3-7; Leclerc 3-4; Tracey 2-4; Jacques 1-4; O'Keefe 1-2; Topercer 1-2; Gosselin 0-1; Quinn 0-5; Dowling 0-1), SR 6-15 (Bromirski 3-6; Gutierrez 1-2; Thomas 1-3; Pope 1-2; Grimes 0-2). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--B 35 (Tracey 11), SR 28 (Hanuschak 7). Assists--B 15 (Tracey 4), SR 7 (Gutierrez 2). Total fouls--B 15, SR 21. Technical fouls-- None.