WALTHAM, Mass. – With the triumvirate of senior Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate), junior forward Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine/Northampton Williston School) and sophomore guard Colton Lawrence (Myerstown, Pa./ELCO HS) combining for 78 points, the undefeated Bentley University Falcons overcame a nine-point second-half deficit for an 89-83 victory over Southern New Hampshire Wednesday night at the Stan Spirou Field House.
Richmond scored a game-high 28 points while moving into tenth on the program's all-time scoring list, Hudson had a career-high 26 along with 13 rebounds, and Lawrence matched his career-best with 24 points.
Bentley, ranked 14th in the NABC Division II coaches poll, improved to 8-0 overall, its best start since 34-0 11 years ago, and 5-0 NE10. SNHU dropped to 5-4 overall and 2-3 conference despite outshooting the Falcons 52-46 percent.
The Falcons closed the game with a 32-17 run after trailing by nine, 66-57, midway through the second half. They closed the gap to one, 68-67, with a 10-2 run accomplished largely at the foul stripe. With the visitors down five, 68-63, a foul was called on SNHU and their coach, former Bentley player and assistant coach Jack Perri, was assessed a technical.
Richmond, who entered the game as a 94-percent shooter at the line, went to the stripe after the T and sank both. Hudson, who drew the foul on the play, made both ends of the one-and-one to cut the SNHU lead to one.
It stayed between one and three until Richmond buried a three from the right wing with 5:23 left, creating a 72-all tie. A 100 seconds later, he hit two free throws, giving Bentley the lead for the first time in the second half, 78-76. Lawrence drilled a three from the right corner with 2:15 left, making it a two-possession game at 84-79.
After Penmen senior guard Daquaise Andrews (Queens, N.Y) missed a potential game-tying three with 1:07 left, Bentley freshman Mason Webb (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness HS) made one of two from the line and Richmond extended the lead to six, 88-82 with 29.4 seconds left.
Bentley shot well early (15 of 26 to start) and held a five-point lead, 38-33, with three minutes to play in the half. However, the Falcons misfired on five of their next six and went into the locker room down a pair at 42-20.
SNHU extended the run to 13-2 by scoring the first five points of the second. The difference hit nine at 66-57 when junior Ryogo Sumino (Kanagawa, Japan) sank a left-corner three.
Free throws were a major difference in the game as the Penmen made four more baskets and had a 9-4 advantage in three-balls. Bentley finished 27 of 33 from the stripe, including 21 of 25 in the second half and 11 of 12 from Richmond. He made more than the entire SNHU team, which misfired on seven of 15.
Richmond, who surpassed Kevin Van Dam '02 on the all-time scoring list and now has 1,590 points, also provided six rebounds and two steals. Hudson, who played all 40 minutes, made 10 of 15 overall and five of seven at the line for his third double-double and Lawrence scored 17 of his 24 in the first half. He also had six rebounds. Sophomore guard Jordan Mello-Klein (Sharon, Mass./Thayer Academy), the second Falcon to never exit the game, had eight assists and five rebounds in his 40 minutes
All five Southern New Hampshire starters scored in doubles with Andrews leading the way with 24, along with 11 assists.
Rebounds favored Bentley, 39-32, and the Falcons committed only six turnovers.
Bentley will return to Manchester Saturday for a showdown with another unbeaten, Saint Anselm College. Game time at Stoutenburgh Gym is 3:30 pm.