WALTHAM, Mass. – After opening the season by winning three of four at home, the Bentley University men's basketball team will take to the road for the first time on Tuesday, playing a 7:30 pm Northeast-10 Conference contest at 4-1 Merrimack College.
Both Bentley and Merrimack are one game removed from their lone loss of the season, the Falcons' coming last Wednesday to UMass-Lowell in the team's NE-10 opener and Merrimack's happening last Friday at home, 84-71 to Holy Family.
Bentley bounced back to edge the University of Bridgeport on Saturday, 67-63, and Merrimack got back on track with a 63-58 victory over Philadelphia University Sunday.
Junior forward Dan O'Keefe (Lexington/Lexington HS) leads the Falcons in scoring (14.3 ppg), rebounds (6.5 per game) and blocks (7), and has been one of the NE-10's best on the offensive boards with 11. Although his field goal percentage is lower than desired, he is the only Bentley player who has scored in doubles in every game and is coming off a career-best rebounding effort (9 vs. Bridgeport).
Sophomore guard Jasper Grassa (Lynn/Lynn Classical HS) and senior guard Sam Leclerc (Fayette, Maine/Winthrop HS) follow with scoring averages of 13.5 and 13.0, respectively. They are among the NE-10 leaders in three-pointers with Grassa having connected 11 times and Leclerc (10-of-18) the only conference player currently with 10 or more treys and at least a .500 percentage from downtown.
Junior guard Greg Jacques (Brockton/St. Sebastian's HS) follows with averages of 10 points anf five assists, and the starting unit for coach Jay Lawson also includes senior forward Kevin Kettl (Hershey, Pa./Hershey HS), who is second on the club in rebounds (5.8 average).
Off the bench, freshman Andrew Shaw (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) has been productive, averaging just a shade under ten points (9.8) while shooting 56 percent overall and 53 percent from three.
A quartet of players have accounted for the bulk of the scoring for Merrimack, the NE-10's top scoring team at 78.6. That list is headed by senior guards Roland Davis and Wayne Mack, both of whom have scored their 1,000th career point this month. Davis, the NE-10 leader in threes with 18, nets 18.8 points a game, and Mack follows at 15.4, along with 5.3 assists and 7.2 rebounds.
Senior forward Aaron Strothers puts up 13.2 points a game on 67 percent shooting, and University of Buffalo transfer Mike Clifford follows at 12.8 ppg with a .596 field goal percentage.
Bentley will also be on the road Sunday, playing a 3:30 pm game at Saint Anselm.