NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Senior forward Brian Tracey (Bow Mar, Colo./Heritage HS) had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and grad student Mike Quinn (Oakdale, Conn./Montville HS) also had a double-double, as Bentley University overcame a rough start to record its 11th consecutive win, 79-63 over Southern Connecticut State in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Moore Field House.
Bentley, ranked 22nd in Division II, improved to 11-2 overall and 9-0 in the conference, keeping its two-game lead over both American International and Saint Anselm College. Southern Connecticut, which led by as many as 15 in the first half, fell to 8-5 overall and 5-4 in the NE-10.
It was a nightmarish start for the Falcons, who managed only nine points over the game's first 15 minutes. Bentley, during that stretch, was just three of 27 from the field, one of 14 from three and two of 11 at the foul stripe (including eight straight misses before the first successful try).
Southern Connecticut didn't shoot a lot better in the first half, but took advantage of Bentley's inability to pull the ball in the basket to open a 24-9 lead.
A put-back dunk by Tracey with just under five minutes on the first-half clock got the Falcons started and launched a half-ending 16-4 surge that reduced the deficit to three at the break, 28-25. Bentley made six of 11 shots during the comeback, with senior guard Tom Dowling (Rockville Centre, N.Y./South Side HS) leading the way with five points.
After the intermission, Bentley heated up some more, and before the second half was six minutes old, the Falcons were up a dozen at 44-22. Tracey opened the second half with a 15-foot base-line jumper and a three from the left wing to give his team the lead, and after an Owl basket, made two free throws with 17:44 left to put his team in front to stay at 32-30.
Dowling followed with a fall-away jumper and Quinn knocked down a three-ball for a 37-30 Falcon advantage. Southern briefly interrupted the run on a jumper by sophomore Trevon Hamlet (Brooklyn, N.Y.), but the Falcons stayed hot with a basket from senior post Joe Fremeau (Manchester, N.H./Central HS), a Quinn three and a fast-break lay-up by Quinn making it 44-32.
Bentley, nine of 11 from the floor to start the second half, eventually pushed the lead to 16, 61-45, only to see three-pointers from Southern's Hamlet and Greg Langston (Stratford, Conn.) reduce the differential to 10 with just under seven minutes left. The Falcons countered with a game-clinching 12-2 surge, including six by Tracey, with the run making it a 20-point game (73-53) with 2:45 left.
Tracey topped a list of four double-figure scorers for the Falcons. Dowling followed with 16 after making his first start since mid-November, and both Quinn and junior guard Sam Leclerc (Fayette, Maine/Winthrop HS) finished with 10. Quinn also had 10 rebounds, including nine in the first half, three assists and three steals.
Hamlet led all scorers with 25 points, with nearly half of his points coming via four three-pointers.
Bentley, after shooting 58 percent in the second half, warmed up to 39 percent overall. Southern finished at 34 percent and was just 13 of 42 on two-point attempts. The Falcons took much better care of the ball (only six turnovers as compared to the Owls' 14), finished with a 15-7 edge in free throws made, and dominated in the paint, 30-12.
Bentley will be at home on Tuesday night for a 7:30 encounter with 11-3 American International.
At New Haven, Conn. (Moore Field House)
BENTLEY 79, SO. CONN. STATE 63
BENTLEY (11-2, 9-0 NE-10) -- Brian Tracey 6-22 8-9 21; Tom Dowling 6-9 1-4 16; Mike Quinn 4-9 0-0 10; Sam Leclerc 3-8 2-4 10; Dan O'Keefe 3-5 0-4 6; Greg Jacques 2-7 1-2 6; Mike Topercer 0-1 3-4 3; Jasper Grassa 1-5 0-0 3; Joe Fremeau 1-2 0-1 2; Kevin Kettl 1-1 0-0 2; Mikerson Laurent 0-0 0-0 0; Jose Diaz 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-69 15-28 79.
SO. CONN. STATE (8-5, 5-4 NE-10) -- Trevon Hamlet 10-19 1-4 25; Greg Langston 5-14 0-0 12; Chazz McCarter 3-9 0-0 8; Andrew Zito 2-4 0-0 6; Kieran Ramsey 1-10 4-4 6; Dexton Williamson 1-5 1-4 3; Lance Long 1-2 0-0 2; Chris Harris 0-4 1-2 1; John Scurry 0-0 0-0 0; Joe Groski 0-0 0-2 0; Demetrius Jackson 0-0 0-0 0; Lenzie Harrison 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-67 7-16 63
Halftime: SCS 28-25; 3-point goals--B 10-32 (Dowling 3-4; Leclerc 2-3; Quinn 2-7; Jacques 1-4; Tracey 1-9; Grassa 1-4; Topercer 0-1), SCS 10-25 (Hamlet 4-7; Zito 2-2; McCarter 2-6; Langston 2-6; Harris 0-3; Ramsey 0-1). Fouled out--Ramsey. Rebounds--B 50 (Tracey, Quinn 10), SCS 49 (Langston 11). Assists--B 15 (Dowling 5), SCS 15 (Harris 6). Total fouls--Bentley 14, SCS 22. Technical fouls-- None.