WALTHAM, Mass. – Senior guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate) scored 23 points, including 20 in the second half and the 1,500th of his illustrious career, as Bentley University rallied from nine down to stay undefeated, 65-59 over Merrimack College in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Dana Center.
Bentley improved to 4-0 overall and 2-0 NE10 while Merrimack slipped to 2-2 overall and 1-1 conference.
The Falcons, who averaged 96 points in the season's first three games, could never get untracked during the opening stanza. They went into the break on the short end of a 28-20 score after turning the ball over ten times and shooting just 33 percent against the Warrior zone.
Bentley, which was still down nine with 13:32 left, made it a one-possession game for the first time in the second half with 9:21 remaining after a 6-0 burse. Richmond hit a baseline jumper, sophomore guard Jordan Mello-Klein (Sharon/Thayer Academy) knocked down a jumper and Richmond made two from the foul stripe.
After Merrimack pushed the spread back to five, Bentley scored eight unanswered to take a lead it would never surrender. With Bentley within three after junior forward Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine/Williston Northampton School) scored from inside, Richmond came up with a mid-court steal and drove to the basket for a three-point play that knotted the game at 45 with 6:22 left.
Freshman guard Mason Webb (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness HS) followed with a three from the left wing to put the Falcons up 48-45.
Richmond drained a three from the right side with 2:08 left, igniting a 7-2 run extended a one-point differential to six, 63-57 with 20.3 seconds left. Mello-Klein secured the victory with two free throws with 13.3 seconds left.
Richmond, the 14th player in program history to reach 1,500, finished five of 11 overall, two of four from three and was perfect on 11 free throw attempts. He also helped the Falcons with seven rebounds and three assists.
Mello-Klein followed with 14 points, including eight of the Falcons' 20 in the opening half, and Hudson finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. Bentley also received seven points, eight rebounds, three steals, two blocks and a team-best +13 from sophomore guard Colton Lawrence (Myerstown, Pa./ ECHO HS).
Merrimack was powered by junior guard Juvaris Hayes (Paterson, N.J.), with 21 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
Bentley shot 52 percent in the second half and finished the game at .431 overall and six of 16 from three. The Falcons, who were perfect on 15 trips to the line, took much better care of the ball in the second half with only two turns after the break.
Merrimack was limited to .368 overall, including .321 in the second half, and made only five of 19 three-pointers.
Bentley will be back in action next Sunday (Nov. 25) against Jefferson University (12 noon).