WALTHAM, Mass. – After extending its winning streak to six games with a 66-58 win over Le Moyne College on Wednesday, the Bentley University men's basketball team will carry a number 10 national ranking and a 14-1 record into Saturday's game at The College of Saint Rose. Tip-off at the Nolan Gymnasium in Albany, N.Y. is set for 3:30 with a free webcast available on NE10 NOW.
They'll be facing a Saint Rose team that will be playing at home for only the second time since Dec. 1. The Golden Knights, 5-9 overall but 3-2 at home, have dropped five of their last six, including a 70-64 decision at St. Michael's Wednesday. The only win during that stretch came in the only home game, 89-72 over a strong East Stroudsburg team.
The current Bentley streak began just over a month ago when the Falcons recorded an 80-63 non-conference victory over Saint Rose in the Dana Center. Coach Jay Lawson's squad was powered by junior forward Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine/Williston Northampton), with 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting, and senior All-Region guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate), with 18.
The Le Moyne win, which boosted the Falcons to 7-1 in Northeast-10 action, was the only one of during the winning streak decided by single figures. Bentley led by double-digits most of the night before a late Dolphin spurt made it a six-point game with a minute-and-a-half left. As he had in the first game of the streak, Hudson set the pace for the Falcons with a 20-point, 14-rebound double-double.
Richmond, currently the number four scorer in the Northeast-10, averages 21.5 points while shooting 49 percent overall, 46 percent from three and 88 percent from the foul line. Bentley's premier scorer for the third straight year moved past Tim Forbes ''06 into fifth on Bentley's all-time scoring list on Wednesday and with a total of 1,737, is now 30 points shy of two-time All-America Brian Hammel '75 for fourth.
Hudson has scored at least 20 four times during the streak and has achieved a double-double in three of those games. Owner of a 15.1 scoring average, he's climbed to third in the NE10 in rebounding (9.2) and is also sixth in the conference in blocks.
Lawson, whose team is a game out of first in the conference's NE10 Northeast Division, has been able to keep his starting five constant with Richmond and Hudson joined by senior forward Zach Gilpin (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) and a pair of sophomores, Colton Lawrence (Myerstown, Pa./ELCO HS) and Jordan Mello-Klein (Sharon/Thayer Academy).
Lawrence, 12 of 19 from deep over the last four games, is second on the squad in both scoring (15.3), rebounding (7.5) and blocks (11). Gilpin averages 9.9 points, Mello-Klein follows at 9.3 and both have helped the Falcons shoot .439 from three as a team. Both have launched 39 threes with Mello-Klein making 19 (49 percent) and Gilpin 17 (44 percent).
Sitting atop the scoring list for Saint Rose is three-time NE10 Rookie of the Week Sekou Sylla. The freshman forward averaged 14 points and 7.4 rebounds, and is sixth in the conference in field goal percentage (.557).
The team's other double-figure scorers are sophomore guard Adam Anderson and senior forward Matt Cerutti. Anderson, a 44 percent shooter from outside the arc, averages 13.8 points and Cerutti provides 13.4 points and 7.5 rebounds a game.
Bentley will be home for a pair of games next week with American International (Wednesday) and New Haven (Saturday) providing the opposition.