WALTHAM, Mass. – Bentley University used a late 18-7 run to take a one-point lead with 1:21 left, but University of New Haven junior guard Jeffery Adkins (Piscataway, N.J.) scored three unanswered points in the final 50 seconds to give his team its 11th straight win, 50-48, in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Saturday afternoon at the Dana Center.
After Bentley took its first lead since the early minutes of the game, 48-47, Adkins was fouled late in the shot clock with 43.4 seconds left. His first free throw rimmed out, but he made the second to even the score for the fifth time.
A little more than 20 seconds later, Adkins came up with a steal and took it in for a go-ahead lay-up with 17.3 on the clock, putting his team up two.
Following a Bentley timeout with 12.2 seconds and two New Haven fouls (which had three to waste), the Falcons inbounded the ball for the final time with 5.7 seconds left. It went into freshman forward Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills HS), but his inside shot wouldn't fall and New Haven escaped with the win after seeing a 12-point second half lead evaporate.
Bentley, down 40-30 with nine minutes to play, ran off seven straight to make it a three-point game with 7:24 left. Freshman forward Shakir Phelps (Linden, N.J./Linden HS) scored the first five on a driving lay-up and a three from the right wing, and a McFarland put-back made it 40-37.
After the two teams traded baskets for the next five minutes, the Falcons faced a 47-42 deficit as the clock slipped under three minutes. Two McFarland baskets brought Bentley within one, and the ball went back to the Falcons with 1:43 left after sophomore guard J.P. Koury (Red Bank, N.J./CBA) forced a jump ball. Twenty-two seconds later, a Koury lay-up temporarily put Bentley in front.
Points were at a premium for both teams in a first half that saw New Haven take a 23-16 lead to the locker room following a 9-2 run over the final 5:15. Junior guard Jasper Grassa (Lynn/Lynn Classical HS) carried the offensive load for Bentley in the first half as he scored ten and the rest of the team combined for only six on 2-of-23 shooting.
A 12-5 second-half run allowed New Haven to open the game's biggest lead, 37-25, with 12:48 left. The visitors managed only 13 the rest of the way, but it proved to be enough as the Chargers improved to 12-5 overall and 9-4 NE-10.
Grassa led Bentley with 16 points, along with seven rebounds, and McFarland notched his fifth double-double, finishing with 10 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Koury and Phelps followed with nine and seven, respectively, and no other Falcon had more than two.
Junior guard Justin Exum (Brooklyn, N.Y.), number one in Division II in three-point accuracy, connected on six of 11 from downtown and led New Haven with 19 points. Adkins contributed 11 points and six assists, and sophomore Eric Anderson (Newark, N.J.) matched McFarland's double-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.
New Haven shot slightly better, 37-33 percent, and had one more rebound, 39-38. Three-pointers (6 each) and free throws (2 apiece) were even, and there were only 15 combined turnovers (eight by UNH).
Bentley, 7-10 overall and 5-8 NE-10, will be back in action Tuesday when it hosts Le Moyne College at 7:30 pm.