ALBANY, N.Y. – Juniors Keegan Hyland (South Portland, Maine/South Portland HS) and Andrew Shaw (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) combined for 49 points on 18-of-29 shooting as Bentley University, the fifth seed out of the Northeast Division, ousted The College of Saint Rose, the fourth seed out of the Southwest, by a 93-79 count in the opening round of the Northeast-10 Conference Championships Friday night at the Daniel P. Nolan Gymnasium.
Hyland finished with a career-best 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting and Shaw followed with 24 points, also a career-high, as he made 9 of 14 shots with five three-pointers.
Bentley, 18-10, will advance to face Saint Anselm College, the Northeast Division champion, Sunday at 3 pm on the road in the quarterfinals.
The Falcons, now 17-1 this season when they have a higher field goal percentage than the opponents, knocked down 14 three-pointers, shot a blistering 17 of 18 from the line and committed only four turnovers, the last coming 5:13 before halftime.
After Saint Rose took its final lead, 58-57, on a jumper by senior center Dominykas Milka (Ridgewood, N.Y.), Hyland responded with a jumper from the left corner with 14:05 to play for the game's 11th and final lead change. Senior guard Jasper Grassa (Lynn, Mass./Lynn Classical HS), Bentley's all-time leader in three-pointers, followed with a 25-footer, making it 62-58.
With the Golden Knights within three with 10:20 remaining, a three-pointer from sophomore guard Alex Furness (Wells, Maine/Wells HS) ignited a 15-6 run to create the game's first double-digit lead, 83-71 with 6:05 left on the game clock. That run included the final two of Shaw's threes and also saw the six-foot-five forward take a charge.
Back-to-back lay-ups by sophomore forward Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills HS) and Grassa pushed the lead to 14, 87-73, with 4:45 left, and Grassa closed out the scoring for the Falcons by making six of six free throws in the final 2:22.
Bentley emerged from a tightly-contested first half (12 ties, seven lead changes) with a 43-40 lead. The Falcons closed with an 11-8 spurt over the final 4:10, with sophomore forward Shaq Phelps (Linden, N.J./Linden HS) knocking down a pair of threes, one from each wing, during that stretch.
Hyland carried the Falcons offensively for much of the half, scoring 16 points before missing and taking a total of 18 into the halftime locker room despite being scoreless over the final seven minutes
A total of five scored in doubles for the Falcons with Hyland and Shaw leading the way. Grassa scored 14 of his 17 in the second half and he climbed two places to 24th on the program's all-time scoring list with 1,354 points.
McFarland finished with 12 points and a team-best five rebounds, and the Falcons also received 12 points and a pair of drawn charges from Phelps.
The six-foot-eight, 270-pound Milka had a huge game in his final contest, finishing with 28 points and 17 rebounds. Senior guard Kareem Thomas (Queens, N.Y.) followed with a career-high 22 points as the two former high school teammates combined for 50 of the Golden Knights' 79 in their final game together.
Bentley outshot the home team 50-45 with Saint Rose (13-14) taking one less three than the Falcons made, finishing five of 13 from downtown. A dozen Golden Knight turnovers resulted in a 10-0 advantage in points off and the Saint Rose bench was held scoreless in 27 minutes of action.
Bentley and Saint Anselm split during the regular season with each prevailing on the other's home court. The Falcons won in Manchester back in mid-November, 102-96, behind a career-best 35 by Grassa, and the Hawks came back to win in Waltham in late January, 88-79.