WALTHAM, Mass. – Following an 84-71 road win at Stonehill College Wednesday in the team's Northeast-10 Conference opener, the Bentley University men's basketball team will be looking for their first 4-0 start in five years when the Falcons host Merrimack College Saturday afternoon at the Dana Center.
Tip-off will be at 1 pm and a free webcast will be available at www.NE10NOW.tv.
Merrimack, which has announced plans to move to Division I next year, will make its final trip into the Dana for a regular season game with records of 2-1 overall and 1-0 NE!0. The Warriors own wins over Holy Family (69-50) and Assumption (72-42) with a loss to Jefferson (72-68) sandwiched in between.
Bentley used a 46-point second-half, 56 percent shooting and a 37-22 rebound advantage to spoil Stonehill's home opener. The starting unit was responsible for 81 of the 84 points with senior guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate) , junior forward Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine/Williston Northampton School) and senior forward Zach Gilpin (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) combining for 61 points on 22 of 37 shooting.
Richmond, 19 points away from becoming the 14th player in program history to reach the 1,500 plateau, is off to a strong start to the season. His 22.3 scoring average is second in the conference and he's also contributing 5.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists a game.
Gilpin and sophomore guard Colton Lawrence (Myerstown, Pa./ECHO HS) follow Richmond in the scoring column at 16 a game with Lawrence the team-leader in both threes (8) and rebounds (8.0). Hudson is the team's other double-figure scorer at 11.3 a game.
During the opening week of the season, Bentley has outshot its opponents 57-40 percent overall and 52-31 percent from deep while knocking down a dozen triples a game. With four of the five starters shooting at least 55 percent, the Falcons are fourth in Division II in shooting percentage (.573) and fifth in three-point accuracy (.514).
In contrast, Merrimack has held its first three opponents to a .349 field goal percentage, .268 from three and only five three-balls per game. Assumption, in the Warriors' conference opener, was limited to .283 overall and 4 of 22 threes.
Junior guard Juvaris Hayes, the first NE10 Player of the Week this season, has picked up where he left off last season when he led the conference in assists and steals. He flirted with a triple-double against Jefferson and is averaging 18 points, 8.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.7 steals.
Other Warriors to watch include senior forward Ryan Boulter, who eclipsed 1,000 career points during the first weekend of the season, and junior Jaleel Lord, who has made 11 of 24 threes and is second in the NE10 in rebounds (9.7).
Bentley and Merrimack split the regular season series last year with each team winning on its home court (Falcons 72-54, Warriors 72-60). The Falcons have won six of the last nine and 24 of the last 29, building a 59-37 advantage in the all-time series.
Following Saturday's game, Bentley will have a week off before hosting Jefferson on Sunday, Nov. 25.