MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Saint Anselm College freshman forward Allen Harris (Roslindale, Mass.) broke a 58-all tie by hitting a jumper in the lane with 6:35 left and the Hawks held on for a 67-66 win over conference-leading Bentley University in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Tuesday night at the Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.
Bentley, which pulled within one four times in the final five minutes, dropped its second straight but maintained a one-game lead in the NE-10 standings. The Falcons dipped to 16-6 overall and 13-4 NE-10 while Saint Anselm, undefeated in 10 home games, improved to 17-5 overall and 12-5 conference.
The outcome of this one, coupled with Merrimack's 54-50 upset of Stonehill, created a three-way tie for second in the NE-10 with Saint Anselm, Stonehill and American International all a game back of the Falcons.
Seniors Brian Tracey (Bow Mar, Colo./Heritage HS) and Tom Dowling (Rockville Centre, N.Y./ South Side HS) each had 20 points to pace Bentley in the scoring department, and NE-10 leading scorer Thomas Baudinet (Watertown, Conn.) had a game-high 29 points for Saint Anselm.
Down 67-64 after Harris knocked down a mid-range jumper with 1:19 to play, Bentley drew within one for the final time when Tracey canned two free throws with 56.4 seconds remaining. Saint Anselm ran the clock down on the ensuing possession and settled for a wild Baudinet just before the shot clock sounded. It missed everything and Bentley regained the ball with 20.7 seconds left.
The Falcons held for the last shot, but a contested 12-footer from the right baseline by Dowling was off the mark and the Hawks escaped with the win.
Trailing by one at the break, Saint Anselm scored the first six points of the second, a run capped by a jumper by junior forward Jack Keough (Owego, N.Y.). Tracey answered with a put-back with 17 minutes left, and the two clubs would never be separated by more than three points the rest of the night.
The Falcons had a two-point lead three times in the second half, the last at 53-51 on a second-chance reverse lay-up by sophomore forward Dan O'Keefe (Lexington/Lexington HS) with 9:42 left. Baudinet scored the game's next five points, and Dowling would tie the game twice before the go-ahead basket by Harris. He converted a three-point play on a drive to the basket and made a pair of free throws about a minute later.
Coming down the stretch, Bentley got within one on a driving lay-up by Dowling, a fall-away in the lane by Dowling and a drive to the basket by Tracey. Twice in the last five minutes, the Falcons had the ball when down by just one, and each time came up empty.
Saint Anselm, which shot 57 percent for the game, had the hot hand early and used a 16-4 run to turn a six-point Falcon lead into a six-point deficit, at 21-15. The Falcons battled back to tie the game at 30 when freshman Jasper Grassa (Lynn, Mass./Lynn Classical HS) sank a three with 3:42 left. Keough hit a jumper to give the Hawks the lead back, and O'Keefe replied with a top-of-the-key three for a 33-32 Falcon lead.
Baudinet regained the lead for his club on a jumper, and an inside basket by Falcon senior forward Joe Fremeau (Manchester, N.H./Central HS) with 1:15 left closed out the first-half scoring, putting Bentley up 35-34.
Dowling's first 20-point night of the season saw him hit 8 of 14 shots overall, and also record three rebounds and two assists. Tracey was six of 11 from the field, made all seven free throw attempts and pulled down seven rebounds. O'Keefe followed those two in the scoring column with nine points off the bench.
Baudinet buried five three-pointers and finished 12-of-22 from the floor. Keough and Harris also scored in doubles for the Hawks, finishing with 16 and 13, respectively.
Bentley (46 percent from the floor) countered Saint Anselm's superior shooting with a substantial edge at the foul stripe. The Falcons made 12 of 16 while the Hawks attempted only three, making but one.
Bentley will look to get back on the winning track Saturday when it hosts Southern New Hampshire at 3:30 pm.
At Manchester, N.H. (Stoutenburgh Gym)
SAINT ANSELM 67, BENTLEY 66
BENTLEY (16-6, 14-4 NE-10) -- Tom Dowling 8-14 3-3 20; Brian Tracey 6-11 7-7 20; Dan O'Keefe 4-7 0-1 9; Joe Fremeau 3-8 0-2 6; Greg Jacques 1-2 2-2 4; Jasper Grassa 1-3 0-0 3; Kevin Kettl 1-1 0-0 2; Mike Quinn 1-4 0-1 2; Sam Leclerc 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 25-54 12-16 66.
SAINT ANSELM (17-5 13-5 NE-10) -- Thomas Baudinet 12-22 0-0 29; Jack Keough 8-12 0-1 16; Allen Harris 6-11 1-2 13; Pat Luptowski 1-3 0-0 3; Quinn Woodhouse 1-2 0-0 2; Dominic Borelli 1-1 0-0 2; John Mariano 1-2 0-0 2; John Nielsen 0-0 0-0 0; Dino Mallios 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-53 1-3 67.
Halftime: B 35-34; 3-point goals--B 4-13 (O'Keefe 1-1; Tracey 1-1; Dowling 1-3; Grassa 1-3; Quinn 0-2; Leclerc 0-3), SA 6-12 (Baudinet 5-9; Luptowski 1-2; Harris 0-1). Fouled out-- None. Rebounds--B 29 (Tracey 7), SA 27 (Mariano, Keough 7). Assists--B 7 (Jacques, Dowling 2), SA 16 (Baudinet, Mariano 4). Total fouls--B 9, SA 18. Technical fouls--None.