January 6, 2012

10-2 Bentley Visits Pace Saturday in Search of 6th Straight Win

WALTHAM, Mass. – After overcoming a 16-point deficit to edge Assumption College on Tuesday, the Bentley University men's basketball team will take a five-game winning streak to Pace University's Goldstein Athletic Center Saturday for a 3:30 pm Northeast-10 Conference encounter with the Setters.

The 60-57 win over the Greyhounds boosted the Falcons to 10-2 overall and kept the team a game back of first-place Adelphi University in the NE-10 standings.

For the second time during the current streak, Bentley overcame a miserable first half and a significant deficit to pull out the victory. Against Stonehill back on Dec. 10, the Falcons came back to win in double-overtime after managing only 17 first-half points (on 4-of-29 shooting) and trailing by as many as 18 in the second half.

That was three more points than Bentley had at the break against Assumption, and this time, the Falcons needed nine points in the final four minutes before the intermission just to get that many, half of what the Greyhounds amassed.  Despite quality shots, they came up empty on 20 of their first 22 attempts.

The offensive woes turned around once play resumed with Bentley erupting for 46 points, more than triple their first-half output. The Falcons grabbed their first lead with about seven-and-a-half minutes left and held off Assumption in the final minute to claim the victory.

The Assumption game marked the 11th time in 12 games that Bentley has outscored the opposition after halftime.  In contrast, the Falcons have won the scoring battle in the first half only six times.

Sophomore guard Jasper Grassa (Lynn/Lynn Classical HS), Bentley's leading scorer on the season, helped lead the second-half comeback, scoring 14 of his team-high 16 after intermission. The NE-10 leader in three-pointers (38) has elevated his per-game average to 15.3 after scoring 44 points in the team's first two games following the holiday break.

Senior guard Sam Leclerc (Fayette, Maine/Winthrop HS) and junior forward Dan O'Keefe (Lexington/Lexington HS) are Bentley's other double figure scorers, with averages of 14.1 and 13.8, respectively. Leclerc is shooting 44 percent from three, and O'Keefe has also shown range from downtown, hitting 10 of 22 from there.

Senior forward Kevin Kettl (Hershey, Pa./Hershey HS) and junior guard Greg Jacques (Brockton/St. Sebastian's HS) complete the usual starting five for Bentley. Jacques is tied for third in the NE-10 in assists, delivering five a game.  Off the bench, freshman Andrew Shaw (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) provides close to ten points a game.

Pace (7-5, 5-3 NE-10) has had an up-and-down season with only one streak thus far, two straight victories in mid-December with Queens and Assumption providing the opposition.  With that lone exception, every win has been followed by a loss, and conversely, every loss has been answered with a win. That trend, if it continues, would bode well for the Falcons as the Setters are coming off a 67-61 win at St. Michael's.

Sophomore guard Denzel Primus-Devonish leads the team in scoring, averaging 13.4, and senior guard Adrian Mills follows at 10.1 ppg. Primus-Devonish has started the last six games for Pace, with his offensive production in those games nearly four points higher than his season norm.

Bentley, the only East Region team still unbeaten away from home, will also be on the road Wednesday night when it visits American International.

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