MANCHESTER, N.H. – Bentley University freshman forward Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/ Camden Hills HS) scored 18 of his career-high 26 points in the second half and also claimed 12 rebounds, all after intermission, but the Falcons came up short after erasing a 15-point deficit, 75-72 to nationally-ranked Saint Anselm College, 75-72, in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Sunday night at Stoutenburgh Gymnasium.
Bentley, down 11 with less than seven minutes to play, ran off 12 unanswered to take its first lead of the second half, 65-64 with 2:56 left. McFarland got it started with a three-point play, sophomore guard J.P. Koury (Red Bank, N.J./CBA) hit a 14-footer and freshman forward Joe Glynn (Abington/ Cardinal Spellman HS) made it a four-point game with a lay-up with 4:45 left.
Following a scoreless 75 seconds for both teams, McFarland buried a three from the left wing, bringing the Falcons to within 64-63. After a defensive stop by Bentley, a Glynn lay-up put the visitors in front, 65-64, with 2:56 left.
Vermont transfer Chris Santo (Cherry Hill, N.J.) returned the lead to Saint Anselm by converting a three-point play on a third-chance opportunity. Bentley senior guard Mike Topercer (Scottsdale, Ariz./New Hampton HS) answered with a mid-range jumper and the two teams went into the final two minutes even at 67.
It remained that way until another three-point play by Santo, this one with 42.5 seconds left after a teammate kept the possession alive with an offensive rebound.
Bentley got back within one on a Koury drive with 23,1 seconds left. Two free throws apiece from junior point guard Dino Mallios (Winthrop, Mass.) and sophomore guard Roy Mabrey (Belmar, N.J.), separated by a Falcon turnover, pushed the Hawk lead to five with 11.4 seconds left.
Bentley wasn't done as junior guard Jasper Grassa (Lynn, Mass./Lynn Classical HS) hit a three with 4.1 seconds on the clock. Mallios was immediately fouled and made the second of two free throws with 2.8 remaining. A long inbound pass was caught by McFarland at the top of the key, but his potential game-tying three was off the mark and Saint Anselm escaped with its sixth consecutive win.
After a Grassa runner brought Bentley within one in the opening minute of the second half, the Falcons went ice-cold from the floor, missing 12 in a row over a span of nearly six minutes. Five different Hawks scored during that time frame, with Saint Anselm opening a 51-41 lead. After a McFarland basket interrupted the run, it grew to 18-4 and a 58-43 Hawk lead with just under 11 minutes left.
McFarland's sixth double-double saw him make 10 of 24 shots overall, including a three-pointer, and five of five from the free throw line. He tied his career-high in rebounds, with six of the 12 coming at the offensive end, and also finished with two assists, two blocks and a steal.
Grassa followed with 17 points, including a dozen in the first half, and five assists, and Koury was the Falcons' third double-figure scorer, with 11 points, He also provided seven rebounds and two blocks. Glynn followed with eight points off the bench.
Freshman forward Mike McCahey (Clarkstown, N.Y.) led five double-digit scorers for conference-leading Saint Anselm, the 15th-ranked team in Division II. He scored 15 of his 19 in the first half, and was followed on the scoring list by Santo, who had 15 rebounds as a non-starter in addition to 12 points.
Both teams had the same number of two-point baskets (23) and free throws (11), but Saint Anselm (18-3, 14-3 NE-10) had a 6-5 edge in three-pointers to account for the difference in the final score. Bentley finished with two more rebounds, 41-39, but had one more turnover, 15-14. That led to a 20-16 edge in points off for the Hawks.
Bentley, 7-14 overall and 5-12 NE-10 following its fourth one-possession loss in the last five games, will return to the Dana Center for two games this week, beginning Tuesday against St. Michael's.