WALTHAM, Mass. – Junior guard Norman Pope (Washington, D.C.) and senior forward Argelix Gil (Brooklyn, N.Y.) combined for 53 points, on 22 of 29 shooting, and 11 steals as Concordia College (N.Y.) never trailed en route to a 98-81 win over Bentley University in non-conference men's basketball action Sunday afternoon at the Dana Center.
Pope made 10 of 12 shots en route to a game-high 27 points and also came up with eight of the Clippers' 15 steals, as well as four assists. Gil, 12 of 17 from the floor, powered his way to 26 points, 14 rebounds, three steals and three helpers.
Concordia, which shot 60.3 percent overall and made nine of 14 three-pointers, snapped a four-game losing streak while improving to 5-10 on the season. Bentley, playing for the first time in 22 days, fell back to .500 at 5-5.
Topping the scoring list for Bentley were sophomore forward Andrew Shaw (Saco, Maine/ Thornton Academy) and freshman forward Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills HS). Shaw gave the Falcons a season-high 19 points and seven rebounds off the bench, and McFarland filled the stat sheet with 18 points, eight rebounds, four blocks and two steals.
The Clippers established control during a stretch of seven minutes and 20 seconds midway through the opening half, outscoring the Falcons 24-8 during that time to open a commanding 37-17 lead. At that point, the visitors were shooting a blistering 80 percent overall, 16 of 20 with a trio of three-pointers, and Gil already had 11 points.
Bentley answered by scoring the next seven points to reduce the deficit to 13 at 40-27. Sophomore guard JP Koury (Red Bank, N.J./CBA HS) began the surge with a put-back, freshman guard Alex Furness (Wells, Maine/Wells HS) hit a short jumper, junior guard Jasper Grassa (Lynn/Lynn Classical HS) made one of two from the line and McFarland capped the run with a lay-up.
Still down 15 with a little more than five minutes left in the half, Bentley used a 18-6 run to draw within three, 50-47, with 1:12 on the first-half clock. That burst included four three-pointers, two by Shaw and one apiece from Grassa and Koury.
That momentum was gone by the time the two teams went into the break, due to five unanswered points and a steal by Pope in the final 45 seconds. During the opening half, the Clippers shot 67 percent overall and buried six of seven three-balls.
Pope opened the second half by connecting again from deep, the three-pointer launching a 10-3 run that put Concordia up 15, 65-50 with only three minutes gone off the second-half clock. Coupled with the close of the first half, that was a 15-3 explosion over a stretch of four minutes.
Concordia maintained a lead of at least 13 the rest of the way and matched its biggest lead of the first half (20) a couple times.
Pope and Gill were joined in doubles by three teammates, including senior guards Lavor Morris (Bronx, N.Y.) and Brandon Whitaker (Harlem, N.Y.). Morris nailed five of seven threes en route to 17 points and Whitaker provided 16 points off the bench.
Koury (15 points) and Furness (12) followed Shaw and McFarland on Bentley's scoring list. Koury made seven of 15 shots and Furness also contributed seven rebounds and three assists.
Bentley shot 47 percent but had troubles from outside the arc (6 of 19), lost the ball on turnovers 18 times, two more than Concordia, and was outrebounded by two. In addition to its outstanding shooting from the field, the Clippers were perfect at the foul line, making 13 of 13.