WALTHAM, Mass. – The Bentley University men's basketball team will be looking for its third win in five games since the holiday break when it makes its biennial trip to American International College Wednesday. A webcast for the 7:30 pm game at Butova Gym will be available at aicyellowjackets.tv.
Bentley, which has played the top two teams in the Northeast-10's Southwest Division since crossover play got underway last week, will take records of 8-6 overall and 5-4 in conference into the game. The Falcons dropped an 81-73 decision to Saint Rose on Saturday after upending Le Moyne in overtime a week ago.
AIC, 8-7 overall and 3-4 NE10, dropped a 65-53 decision at St. Michael's on Saturday, ending their fourth two-game winning streak of the season. It's been a season of two-game streaks for the Jackets, who have been alternating back-to-back wins with back-to-back losses since the season began two months ago.
Bentley junior guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate) is coming off his ninth 20-point game of the season, including third straight. He's had the hot hand over the last three, shooting the ball at a 53 percent success rate while averaging 24 points, five rebounds and 2.7 assists.
The newest member of Bentley's 1,000-point club, Richmond is currently fourth in the conference in scoring at 21.1.
Other scoring threats for the Falcons include junior forward Zach Gilpin (Hampden, Maine/ Hampden Academy) at 13.5 points per game, sophomore forward Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine/Northampton Williston School) at 10.9 and freshman guard Jordan Mello-Klein (Sharon/Thayer Academy) at 9.2.
The three have shot well this season, combining to hit at a 51 percent clip overall and 45 percent from three. Gilpin leads Bentley in threes with 25 and has made eight of 15 in the last four games. Hudson has averaged 15.7 points and 7.7 rebounds since returning to the lineup three games ago, and Mello-Klein has produced 10.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists a game over the last three.
Senior forward Brandon Wheeler (Stamford, Conn./Trinity Catholic HS) saw his string of games with at least nine rebounds halted on Saturday but remains one of the leaders in the conference, collecting 7.6 a game.
Unlike Bentley with Richmond, AIC doesn't have a player who ranks amongst the NE10's elite scorers. Senior wing Tahilb Swan leads the team at 13.7, an average that ranks 22nd in the conference. He erupted for 30 points in a win against Adelphi last month, but after missing three games, has only scored 29 in three games since his return.
Coach Andy Burkholder has six other players who score between 7.5 and 10.7 points a game with freshman guard Adonis Williams at the top of the list. Junior guard Kassim Kaba leads the Jackets in threes with all but one of his 28 baskets coming from outside the arc.
Looking at the NE10 stats, Bentley is third in scoring at 82.6 per game, although the Falcons have come up short of that number in five straight, and AIC is 14th at 67.5. Defensively, AIC leads the conference in both field goal and three-point defense while holding the opponents to 69.8 points on average. Bentley ranks in the middle of the pack defensively, giving up 72.1 a game.
Bentley will also be on the road Saturday for a 3:30 pm game at the University of New Haven.