WALTHAM, Mass. – Sophomore guard Alex Furness (Wells, Maine/Wells HS) erupted for a career-best 27 points on 10-of-12 shooting as Bentley University pushed its record to 5-0 with an 88-76 win over visiting Assumption College in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Wednesday night at the Dana Center.
Bentley, owners of a nine-game winning streak dating back to February, improved to 2-0 in the conference with the 5-0 start the program's best since the 2007 team won its first 34 before falling in the Elite Eight semifinals. The Falcons connected at a 56 percent clip overall, the fifth straight game they've been at 53 percent or better.
With the score even at 56 apiece, Bentley took charge with a 13-2 run that made it a 69-58 game with 7:55 left in the second. Lay-ups from juniors Andrew Shaw (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) and JP Koury (Red Bank, N.J./CBA) put the Falcons in front to stay. Following a short jumper by Assumption freshman Kamali Bey (Springfield), Bentley senior guard Jasper Grassa (Lynn/Lynn Classical HS) nailed a three from the left wing, sophomore forward Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/ Camden Hills HS) made a pair of lay-ups and freshman guard Matt Barr (Stratham, N.H./Cushing Academy) sank a pair at the line for the Falcons' first double-digit lead of the night.
After Assumption closed to within seven, Bentley embarked on a clinching 12-4 burst to stretch the differential to 15, 83-68 with 3:29 left. That included a pair of Furness lay-ups and three-point plays from McFarland and Koury.
Before Bentley seized control midway through the second, the momentum shifted back-and-forth with seven lead changes.
An early 16-4 run gave Assumption a 26-16 lead halfway through the opening stanza. Bentley countered by scoring 16 of the game's next 18 points to grab a 32-28 lead with under four left in the first. Freshman guard Ferguson Duke (Dartmouth, N.S./The Hun School (N.J.)) had a hand in that run, scoring all six of his points, and Shaw helped out with five.
Down 41-36 at the half, the Greyhounds came out hot to start the second, using a 10-2 run to grab a 46-43 lead. Bentley came right back with Furness scoring the first five of an 8-0 run that turned the three-point hole into a 51-46 lead. Assumption answered with a Bey-fueled 10-5 spurt and the game was even at 56 with 11:36 to play.
Furness' career night bettered the 24, also on 10-of-12 shooting, that he scored in his first career game last November against Caldwell. He was five-of-six from three-point land and also helped out with four rebounds and four assists.
McFarland and Grassa followed with 15 points apiece, and both also helped out in other ways. McFarland had 10 rebounds and two steals while Grassa's stat line included six rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Koury was the fourth Falcon to score in doubles, finishing with 10, and Shaw netted nine points.
Bey hit 10 of 17 points en route to a career-high 23 points to pace Assumption (1-4, 0-1 NE-10). The Hounds also received 18 points, all coming via the three, from sophomore forward Chris Fitzgerald (Somerset).
Assumption had the rebound edge (41-32) in the relatively turnover-free game (9 giveaways apiece), but Bentley's superior shooting was the difference and included a 12-8 edge in threes and a 12-6 advantage in free throws.
Bentley's next game is Saturday afternoon at Stonehill College, with the opening jump set for 3:30 pm.