BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Sophomore Dan O'Keefe (Lexington, Mass./Lexington HS) scored six of his career-best 14 points in overtime, and four teammates joined him in double figures, as Bentley University extended its winning streak to eight with a 66-61 road win over the University of Bridgeport in men's college basketball Sunday afternoon at Harvey Hubbell Gymnasium.
Bentley, which got to the line more in overtime than the Purple Knights did in the entire game, ran its record to 8-2. Bridgeport, down seven with 3:35 left in the second half before battling back to force the OT, fell to 3-4.
O'Keefe opened the overtime scoring by making three of four free throws in the first 92 seconds of the extra session. After a Purple Knight basket to cut the Falcon lead to one, Bentley used lay-ups from senior forward Joe Fremeau (Manchester, N.H./Central HS) and O'Keefe to open a 57-52 lead with 1:48 left.
Following a Bridgeport missed three, O'Keefe sank one of two from the line with 1:14 on the clock. Fremeau claimed the offensive board after the second was off-target, and junior guard Sam Leclerc (Fayette, Maine/Winthrop HS) turned the second chance into points, his two charity tosses with 58.8 seconds left putting the Falcons up eight at 60-52.
Bentley locked up the win with more success at the line, Leclerc making two with 27 seconds left and senior guard Tom Dowling (Rockville Centre, N.Y./South Side HS) sinking three of four in the final 17 seconds.
Bentley emerged from a low-scoring first half with a nine-point lead at 28-19. The advantage certainly could have been higher but the Falcons were guilty of 11 turnovers. The visitors allowed only eight points over the final 14 minutes, controlled the boards (19-12) and made the only seven free throws of the opening stanza, getting to the line 10 times to the Purple Knights' two.
Bentley trailed early, but used a run of 10 unanswered points, over a stretch of 6:50, to open an 18-11 lead. Grad student Mike Quinn (Oakdale, Conn./Montville HS) buried a long three-pointer, the 200th triple of his career, to put the Falcons in front at 12-11, and O'Keefe had two baskets during the surge.
After blanking the Knights for nearly seven minutes early in the half, Bentley also pitched a shutout over the final 3:20. The Falcons added only three points to their lead during that span, a Quinn free throw and O'Keefe's third field goal of the half. He was the team's top scorer in the opening stanza, with six points.
Despite struggling offensively for much of the second half, Bentley maintained a lead of at least three points until a 6-1 Purple Knight spurt, finished by a three-point play from six-foot-six senior Msoo Ikyatoor (Nigeria), reduced the lead to two, 48-46 with 2:56 left.
A Dowling lay-up with 2:28 on the second-half clock restored the lead to four, but proved to be the final Falcon points of regulation. Bridgeport closed to within two on a pair of free throws by junior Donte Mentor (Brooklyn, N.Y.) with 1:22 to play and tied the game on an 18-footer from senior guard Jermaine Washington (Philadelphia, Pa.) with 30.7 seconds.
Bentley held for the last shot of the half, but Dowling's driving lay-up was off the mark. Quinn grabbed the rebound but couldn't get another shot off after being swarmed by the Bridgeport defenders.
Dowling followed O'Keefe on the Bentley scoring list with 11 points, including 7 of 8 free throws, and also provided four rebounds and four assists. Quinn and Leclerc each finished with 10, a total matched by senior post Brian Tracey (Bow Mar, Colo./Heritage HS). Tracey, before fouling out with 3:30 left in regulation, completed his double-double with 10 rebounds and also drew three charges.
Washington led Bridgeport with 16 points, seven assists and six rebounds.
Bridgeport shot better overall (40-35 percent) and committed five fewer turnovers (only two of the Falcons' 20 came over the game's final 15 minutes), but the Falcons used their dominance at the line and on the glass to keep the winning streak going. Bentley buried 27 of 36 free throws, including a perfect 7-7 from Leclerc, while Bridgeport attempted only 12, making eight.
On the boards, Bentley amassed 42 boards, including 14 offensive, for a +11 margin. Seven different Falcons had at least one offensive rebound, and Quinn followed Tracey with eight total rebounds.
Bentley won't play again until the second day of the New Year, a Sunday afternoon Northeast-10 contest at St. Michael's.
At Bridgeport, Conn. (Hubbell Gym)
BENTLEY 66, BRIDGEPORT 61
BENTLEY (8-2) -- Dan O'Keefe 4-6 6-8 14; Tom Dowling 2-7 7-8 11; Brian Tracey 4-8 2-3 10; Sam Leclerc 1-6 7-7 10; Mike Quinn 3-11 2-4 10; Joe Fremeau 1-3 3-4 5; Jasper Grassa 1-3 0-0 3; Greg Jacques 1-4 0-2 3; Kevin Kettl 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-48 27-36 66.
BRIDGEPORT (3-4) -- Jermaine Washington 6-15 3-3 16; Donte Mentor 4-9 2-2 12; Msoo Ikyaator 4-8 3-3 11; Sandy Tanner 3-6 0-0 6; Josh Martin 2-10 0-0 5; Omari Howard 2-5 0-2 5; Chris Abney 2-5 0-0 4; Nick Daggett 1-2 0-2 2; Moyan Henry 0-0 0-0 0; Marcus Short 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-60 8-12 61.
Halftime: Be 28-19; 3-point goals--Be 5-16 (Quinn 2-5; Jacques 1-2; Grassa 1-2; Leclerc 1-6; Tracey 0-1), Br 5-17 (Mentor 2-5; Washington 1-6; Howard 1-1; Martin 1-5). Fouled out--Tracey; Martin; Daggett; Mentor. Rebounds--Be 42 (Tracey 10), Br 31 (Washington 6). Assists--Be 10 (Dowling 4), Br 17 (Washington 7). Total fouls--Be 18, Br 30. Technical fouls--None.