Bentley Hosts No. 24 Saint Anselm in Match-Up of NE10’s Best Records; Richmond Approaching 2,000

Ryan Richmond
Ryan Richmond

WALTHAM, Mass. – In more than 50 years of Bentley University men's basketball, only three players have scored at least 2,000 career points. Guard Bill Holden was the first, amassing 2,103 from 1986-90. Jason Westrol, also a guard, became the second and finished with 2,068 from 2006-10, and just three years ago, forward Tyler McFarland reached the plateau on his way to a school record 2,118.

After scoring exactly 100 points in his last three games, Bentley senior All-Region guard Ryan Richmond (Toronto, Ont./Thomson Collegiate) is only five points away from joining that trio and becoming the 19th player in Northeast-10 Conference history with at least 2,000.

Richmond will have his first opportunity on Saturday when the two winningest teams in the NE10, Bentley and the Saint Anselm College Hawks, meet up in the Dana Center for a 3:30 pm contest (NE10NOW.tv or bentleyfalcons.tv). The Hawks feature a 2,000-point scorer of their own in senior guard Tim Guers.

Bentley, after an 84-79 loss to Southern New Hampshire Wednesday, is in third place in the NE10's Northeast Division with a 10-7 conference record. The Falcons are 17-7 overall, a .708 winning percentage that is second only to Saint Anselm's .818. Coach Jay Lawson's squad trails second-place Merrimack by one game and leads fourth-place Franklin Pierce by the same margin.

The Hawks, 18-4 overall, are 14-3 in NE10 action and with four games left in the regular season, are one game away from clinching the Northeast Division championship.

Richmond, over the last month, has scored 30 or more five times in eight games, a stretch in which he has averaged 29.1 points. His 34 points Wednesday against SNHU followed 31 at Assumption a week ago and 35 against Stonehill Feb. 6.

The hot stretch has boosted the season scoring norm for the six-foot-one Canadian to 24.2, nearly a full point better than the school record of 23.5 he set a year ago, and the 11th best in all of Division II. Richmond is shooting .494 overall, 403 from three and .899 at the line. Wednesday's game marked the fifth time this season, he's been perfect at the line with a minimum of ten attempts.

Sophomore guard Colton Lawrence (Myerstown, Pa./ELCO HS) follows Richmond on the Bentley scoring list with his 14.8 average a tenth-of-a-point better than junior forward Chris Hudson (Hodgdon, Maine./Williston Northampton HS).

Four of the five Falcon starters are shooting at least .400 from three with Richmond and Lawrence joined by sophomore guard Jordan Mello-Klein (Sharon/Thayer Academy) and senior forward Zach Gilpin (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy). Mello-Klein heads that list at .435.

In addition, freshman Mason Webb (Oklahoma City, Okla./Bishop McGuinness HS) has connected at a .417 clip from deep.

As a team, Bentley ranks in the top three in the conference in scoring margin (+8.5), free throw percentage (.824), three-point accuracy (.399), rebound margin (+3.1), assist-turnover ratio (1.2) and three-point percentage defense (.339). The Falcons are fourth in scoring (81.8) and eighth in scoring defense (73.2).

It's been a standout season for Saint Anselm, which won its first ten and is coming off a 100-69 rout of Assumption. Three of the team's four losses have come on the road, including 61-39 to Merrimack last Saturday.

The Hawks were without Guers in that one but came back in a big way against the Greyhounds. Guers erupted for 26 points on 9-of-11 shooting and became Saint Anselm's all-time leading scorer with 2,101 points.

Longtime head coach Keith Dickson has number of weapons to complement Guers with three players scoring at least 13 a game. That list includes sophomore forward Chris Paul (14.8) and a pair who are shooting 42 percent from three, senior guard Cody Ball (13.8) and sophomore forward Gustav Suhr-Jessen (13.1).

Saint Anselm is the highest scoring team in the conference at 84.8 a game and is also seventh in scoring defense (72.9).

In the first meeting this season, back on Dec. 8, the Hawks knocked the Falcons from the ranks of the unbeaten, 84-74. They limited Bentley to only five three-pointers and were led offensively by Guers (26 points, 6/7 from deep).

It'll be two road games for Bentley next week, at St. Michael's Wednesday and at Merrimack next Saturday, before the regular season finale on Feb. 26 (home vs. Franklin Pierce).