WALTHAM, Mass. -- Senior forward Kevin Roth (Lake View, N.Y.) scored 22 points and the Dolphin defense limited the Falcons to a .296 field goal percentage as Le Moyne College held off conference-leading Bentley University, 58-54, in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Dana Center.
Bentley, ranked 24th in Division II, fell to 13-4 overall (11-2 NE-10) and saw its lead in the NE-10 standings fall to one game over Saint Anselm and American International, both of whom won on Saturday. Le Moyne, which had lost nine in a row in the series, moved closer to .500 at 8-9 overall and 6-7 NE-10.
Bentley misfired on 25 of 37 three-pointers in the game and was successful on only four two-pointers all day, out of 17 attempts. Despite the shooting woes against the Le Moyne zone, the Falcons still had a chance down the stretch.
Down by as many as 16 in the first half, the Falcons closed to within one, 52-51, when freshman guard Jasper Grassa (Lynn/Lynn Classical HS) nailed a three from the right wing with 3:41 remaining. Bentley missed two threes for the lead before Le Moyne redshirt freshman Jim Janson (Scotia, N.Y.), a 46 percent foul shooter, sank two of two from the line with 2:12 left to restore the lead to three.
Following two more missed shots by Bentley, senior guard Can Ozkaner (Ankara, Turkey) hit a jumper in the paint with 56 seconds left, making it a two-possession game with 58 seconds left. Roth had a chance to add to his team's lead with 35.4 seconds left, but missed both attempts from the foul stripe. Bentley graduate guard Mike Quinn (Oakdale, Conn./Montville HS) nailed a three on the following possession, reducing the differential to two with 21 seconds left, but two free throws by Le Moyne freshman Nate Champion (Logansport, Ind.) again made it a two-possession game and closed out the scoring with 20 seconds left.
Three three-pointers by Bentley in the opening 5:20 staked the Falcons to an early 11-5 lead. Twenty-six of the game's next 31 points went on the Le Moyne side of the scoreboard as the Dolphins embarked on a stretch of more than 11 minutes in which they made 12 of 14 shots from the floor. Included in the run was a 5-for-5, 10-point effort by Roth.
Bentley, which had more turnovers (10) than field goals (6) in the first half, started the second half with a 15-7 surge to reduce the 13-point halftime deficit to five, 41-36. A chance to get even closer ended with a turnover, and Roth scored all of the Dolphins' points during a 5-3 spurt to push the lead back to seven, 46-39.
Jasper's three that reduced the lead to one capped a 12-6 run that included eight points from the freshman.
Junior guard Sam Leclerc (Fayette, Maine/Winthrop HS) was Bentley's top scorer with 13 points, and both Grassa and senior guard Tom Dowling (Rockville Centre, N.Y./South Side HS) added 11 points. Senior forward Brian Tracey (Bow Mar, Colo./Heritage HS) had nine points, about half his season norm, and 10 rebounds. He eclipsed both 1300 points and 700 rebounds for his career, becoming only the 11th player in the program's history to do so.
Roth earned his 22 points on 9 of 22 shooting, and also gave his team five rebounds and two steals. Champion followed with 10 points and the 6-foot-10 Janson finished with nine points and eight boards.
Le Moyne, which shot .489 from the field, outscored Bentley in the paint, 28-6, but the Falcons had the edge in rebounds (35-29) and second chance points (12-2).
Bentley is back in action on Wednesday when it plays at Saint Rose (7:30 pm).
At Waltham, Mass. (Dana Center)
LE MOYNE 58, BENTLEY 54
LE MOYNE (8-9, 6-7 NE-10) -- Kevin Roth 9-15 4-8 22; Nate Champion 4-8 2-2 12; Jim Janson 3-5 3-3 9; Can Ozkaner 3-8 0-0 6; Chris Johnson 2-3 0-0 5; Gamal Mohamed 1-4 1-2 4; Michael Goodman 0-1 0-0 0; James Cormier 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-45 10-15 58.
BENTLEY (13-4, 11-2 NE-10) -- Sam Leclerc 4-8 2-2 13; Tom Dowling 3-14 2-2 11; Jasper Grassa 3-9 2-2 11; Brian Tracey 3-16 2-3 9; Mike Quinn 2-4 0-0 6; Dan O'Keefe 1-1 0-1 2; Joe Fremeau 0-0 2-2 2; Kevin Kettl 0-0 0-0 0; Mike Topercer 0-0 0-0 0; Greg Jacques 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 16-54 10-12 54.
Halftime: L 34-21; 3-point goals--L 4-14 (Champion 2-5; Mohamed 1-4; Johnson 1-2; Cormier 0-1; Ozkaner 0-2), B 12-37 (Grassa 3-9; Dowling 3-10; Leclerc 3-6; Quinn 2-4; Tracey 1-6; Jacques 0-2). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--L 29 (Janson 8), B 35 (Tracey 10). Assists--L 11 (Ozkaner 4), B 14 (Dowling 3). Total fouls--L 16, B 13. Technical fouls--None.