ALBANY, N.Y. – Saint Rose senior forward Matt Cerutti (Guilderland, N.Y.) knocked down his team's 13th three-pointer with 29.4 seconds left and locked up the win with two free throws with seven ticks remaining as the Golden Knights upended tenth-ranked Bentley University, 81-66, in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Saturday afternoon at Nolan Gymnasium.
Bentley, which erased a 17-point second-half deficit to forge a late tie, dropped to 14-2 overall and 7-2 in the NE10. Despite the loss, the Falcons remained a game out of first in the Northeast Division, thanks to Adelphi's 98-89 victory over Saint Anselm. Saint Rose improved to 6-9 overall and 3-5 conference.
Sizzling shooting from downtown – 10 of 14 – propelled Saint Rose to a 41-26 lead at the half. Four of those came during the game's opening ten minutes as the Golden Knights shot out to a 20-6 lead.
The barrage continued with triples from senior guard Shane Herrity (Glendale, N.Y.), sophomore forward Jeff Allen (Madison, Conn.) and junior guard Michael Wearne (Melbourne, Australia) making it 29-15 with a little more than seven minutes left in the opening stanza.
Saint Rose's lead peaked at 43-26 when Cerutti opened the second half scoring on a drive.
Bentley got back in the game with 12 unanswered bringing the Falcons to within two, 48-46, with 12:13 left. After junior forward Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine/Willston Northsmpton) drove for a basket and a free throw, senior All-Region guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate) did the same twice. After junior guard Seth Stankiewicz (Reading, Pa./Hill School) drew a charge, Richmond drained a three-ball from the left side.
With his team down 61-56, Bentley senior forward Zach Gilpin (Hampden. Maine/Hampden Academy) stuck a three from the left corner with 2:30 showing. After a couple defensive stops, including a steal by sophomore guard Colton Lawrence (Myerstown, Pa./ELCO HS), Richmond knocked down a mid-range pull-up, creating the first tie since 0-0.
The ensuing possession for Saint Rose finished with Cerutti's game-winning three and the Falcons closed out the game by missing their final three shots.
While Saint Rose was an impressive 13 of 24 from three-point land, it was a tough shooting night for the Falcons. Bentley finished at only .429 overall and was off the mark for 20 of its 26 attempts from downtown.
Richmond led Bentley with 19 points, all but two coming in the second half. Gilpin, responsible for half of Bentley's three-pointers, followed with 14, and Hudson finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.
Cerutti led Saint Rose with 21 points and Herrity buried four triples for 12 points.
Bentley, which was outrebounded 30-26, went to the line twice as often as the home team, 16-8, and made six more, 13-7.
Next up for the Falcons is a Wednesday home game with American International.