Lawrence, with 24 Points and 11 Rebounds, Leads Bentley to 104-88 Season-Opening Win

Colton Lawrence
Colton Lawrence

WALTHAM, Mass. – Sophomore guard Colton Lawrence (Myerstown, Pa./ECHO HS) scored 24 points and collected 11 rebounds, both career-bests, as the Bentley University men's basketball team opened the season with a 104-88 win over Goldey-Beacom College Saturday night during the Bentley Tip-Off Classic at the Dana Center.

All five Bentley starters scored in doubles with Lawrence followed by senior guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate), whose 21 points included a 15-of-16 performance from the free throw stripe. Sophomore guard Jordan Mello-Klein (Sharon/Thayer Academy) netted 14, including a buzzer-beating jumper at the end of the first half to send Bentley into the break up one, 46-45.

Bentley held that one-point advantage despite 15 turnovers that led to 15 Goldey-Beacom points during the first 20 minutes.

It was a half of runs with the Falcons sandwiching a 24-5 spurt around a pair of hot stretches by the Lighting. Goldey-Beacom jumped out to a 16-8 lead and after Bentley went up by 11, outscored the Falcons 24-14 over the final 8:15.

Included in Bentley's 24-5 run were 16 unanswered in a little more than a two-minute stretch. Lawrence had the hot hand with a pair of threes and four free throws.

It was still a two-point game with slightly less than 13 to play when the Falcons seized control with seven straight points. Lawrence hit a baseline jumper, Mello-Klein drained a fast-break three and sophomore forward Pete Blust (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central HS) made two from the line.

The 7-0 spurt grew into a 26-6 pasting that made it a 22-point advantage with 5:39 to play.

Lawrence made eight of 11 shots overall, knocked down four of six from downtown and was perfect on four free throws. His 11 defensive rebounds helped the Falcons dominate the glass, 42-25.

Richmond, in addition to scoring 21, had eight rebounds and five assists. Mello-Klein made five of eight shots and also delivered five assists. The Falcons also received 12 points from junior forward Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine/Williston Northampton) and 11 from senior forward Zach Gilpin (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy).

Bentley had an outstanding shooting night, finishing at .607 overall, .565 (13-23) from three and .871 at the foul stripe. In the second half, the Falcons made 18 of 25, a sizzling 72 percent clip.

Meanwhile, Goldey-Beacom shot .429 overall and made 15 of 40 from deep.

The tournament continues Sunday with Bentley hosting Bloomfield College at 5 pm.