WALTHAM, Mass. -- Senior forward Brian Tracey (Bow Mar, Colo./Heritage HS), senior guard Tom Dowling (Rockville Centre, N.Y./South Side HS) and junior guard Sam Leclerc (Fayette, Maine/ Winthrop HS) combined for 54 points on 22-of-25 shooting as Bentley University won its 15th game of the season, 84-68 over Pace University in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Dana Center.
Tracey made his final 10 shots and finished with 26 points on 11-of-12 accuracy, the third best single-game shooting performance all-time by a Falcon with at least 10 field goals made. Leclerc sank four of five three-pointers and six of eight overall en route to a career-best 16 points, and Dowling (12 points) was perfect on his five field goal attempts.
The win boosted the number one ranked team in the NCAA Division II East Region to 15-4 overall and 13-2 in the conference. Coupled with American International's loss at Saint Anselm, it also extended Bentley's lead in the NE-10 standings to two games over both those clubs and Stonehill. Pace slid to 10-10 overall and 6-9 in the conference.
Points flowed relatively easily for both teams in a first half that saw four ties and eight lead changes. The final change came with about five-and-a-half minutes left until intermission when Tracey launched a 9-0 run with a three-pointer. That spurt also included two more Tracey baskets and a Dowling lay-up.
The Bentley lead stood at six at the half, 42-36, with the home team shooting 59 percent overall and Pace 7 of 13 from three-point land. Tracey had 18 of his points by the break and Pace freshman Denzel Primus-Devonish (Riverdale, Md.) nearly matched that with 17, including five three-pointers in seven attempts.
The Falcons vaulted out of the second-half gate with a 14-5 surge to go up 15, 56-41, and the lead never left double-figures again. Senior forward Joe Fremeau (Manchester, N.H./ Central HS) opened the run with a mid-range jumper, Dowling drove to the basket for two, and Tracey knocked down a fast-break jumper before the Setters cracked the scoring column in the second half.
With the lead at 60-49, Bentley locked up the outcome by embarking on a 15-3 run that included six points by O'Keefe and five from Leclerc.
Tracey, who came within one point of his career-best while moving into a tie for 24th on Bentley's all-time scoring list (1,342 points), also had eight rebounds, sharing team-high honors with graduate student Mike Quinn (Oakdale, Conn./Montville HS). Leclerc contributed five assists and four rebounds in addition to his 16 markers, and Dowling (nine points away from 1,000) also had five rebounds and two helpers.
Jacques and O'Keefe completed Bentley's list of five double-figure scorers, each providing 10 points off the bench.
Primus-Devonish was the only Setter to score in doubles, finishing with 23 points and four assists.
Bentley was over 60 percent from the field for much of the game and finished at .579. Pace, on the other game, hit just 36 percent overall and was just 15 of 45 inside the three-point line. The Falcons, whose 12 turnovers was triple the number that Pace had, enjoyed a 15-rebound advantage (45-30) and outscored the Setters in the paint, 38-14.
Bentley's next action is on Wednesday, a 7:30 pm meeting at Merrimack College, currently the fifth-ranked team in the region.
At Waltham, Mass. (Dana Center)
BENTLEY 84, PACE 68
PACE (10-10, 6-9 NE-10) -- Denzel Primus-Devonish 7-16 4-4 23; Adrian Mills 4-13 0-2 9; Keon Williams 3-11 2-3 8; Justin Alston 2-4 2-2 7; Kai Smith 3-6 0-0 7; David Eismeier 2-9 0-0 6; Delroy Daley 2-8 0-0 4; Jonathan Merceus 1-1 0-0 2; Ahmad George 1-2 0-0 2; Chris Frank 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-70 8-11 68.
BENTLEY (15-4, 13-2 NE-10) -- Brian Tracey 11-12 2-2 26; Sam Leclerc 6-8 0-0 16; Tom Dowling 5-5 2-3 12; Dan O'Keefe 4-8 2-3 10; Greg Jacques 4-7 0-1 10; Joe Fremeau 1-3 1-2 3; Kevin Kettl 1-2 1-2 3; Mike Topercer 0-1 2-2 2; Mike Quinn 1-5 0-0 2; Jacob Moore 0-1 0-0 0; Jasper Grassa 0-5 0-0 0. Totals 33-57 10-15 84.
Halftime: B 42-36; 3-point goals--P 10-25 (Primus-Devonish 5-9; Eismeier 2-7; Smith 1-3; Alston 1-3; Mills 1-2; George 0-1), B 8-22 (Leclerc 4-5; Jacques 2-5; Tracey 2-2; Quinn 0-3; Grassa 0-5; O'Keefe 0-2). Fouled out-- Smith. Rebounds--P 30 (Daley 8), B 45 (Tracey, Quinn 8). Assists--P 12 (Primus-Devonish 4), B 19 (Quinn, Leclerc 5). Total fouls--P 17, B 10. Technical fouls--None.