WALTHAM, Mass. – Freshman guard Colton Lawrence (Myerstown, Pa./ELCO HS) scored 15 points off the bench, sophomore forward Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine/Williston Northampton School) followed with 14 and six other Falcons contributed at least eight points as Bentley University won its seventh straight season-opener, 103-54 in the opening round of the Bentley Men's Basketball Tip-Off Classic at the Dana Center Saturday night.
Senior forward Brandon Wheeler (Stamford, Conn./Trinity Catholic HS) scored the game's first four points and the Falcons never looked back, opening up a 13-4 lead before five minutes had elapsed.
Coach Jay Lawson's team broke the contest open during the final six minutes of the first half, a 22-7 blast sending the two squads to the locker room separated by 24 points, 49-25. Junior guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thompson Collegiate) was the top scorer in the half with ten and each of the Falcons' three frontcourt starters – Hudson, Wheeler and junior Zach Gilpin (Hampden, Maine/ Hampden Academy) – followed with eight.
An early 7-0 run in the second half, one that included four points from freshman guard Jordan Mello-Klein (Sharon/Thayer Academy), extended the difference to 29, 56-27, and the Lions never got closer than 25 again.
Bentley's lead peaked at 51, 103-52, on a final minute three-pointer from senior forward Nick Burton (Falmouth, Maine/Falmouth HS).
It was a solid debut for the Falcons' freshman class, who combined for 34 points, 17 rebounds and five assists. Lawrence made five of seven from the floor, including three triples, and also had seven rebounds. Mello-Klein finished with eight points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals, and six-foot-six Pete Blust (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Catholic HS) pitched in with eight points, four rebounds and two assists in 13 minutes.
Hudson had a game-high eight rebounds in addition to making six of his ten shots. The Falcons also received double figures from Richmond (12), sophomore guard Seth Stankiewicz (Reading, Pa./ The Hill Schoo) (11 in 11 minutes) and Wheeler (10).
For Georgian Court, six-ten junior Nikola Vujovic (Novi Sad, Serbia) provided 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Bentley outshot the visiting Lions, 53-31 percent, while enjoying a 10-4 advantage in three-pointers made. The Falcons also dominated on the glass, finishing with a 58-26 rebounding edge with eight different players having four or more.
In the first game, Concordia (N.Y.) used a 56-point second half to overtake Saint Anselm, 103-92. Despite the loss, the Hawks received 29 points from both junior guard Tim Guers and senior guard Austin Nydegger.
Day two of the tournament will be Sunday with Saint Anselm facing Georgian Court at 3:30 and Bentley taking on Concordia at 5:30.