SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Sophomore forward Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills HS) erupted for 32 points, including 30 in the first 23:06, without missing a shot as Bentley University won for the sixth time in its last seven games, 78-64 over American International College in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Saturday afternoon at Butova Gymnasium.
McFarland finished a perfect 12-for-12 overall, breaking the school record of 11-of-11 set by Bob Martin against Maine-Portland-Gorham back in February 1968. Four of his dozen baskets were from three-point land and he was also perfect on his four free throw attempts.
The win lifted the Falcons to 13-4 overall and 7-4 in the Northeast-10, and extended the Falcons' streak in the series to 20 games. AIC dropped to 7-10 overall and 4-6 in the conference.
McFarland carried the Falcons in the first half, which ended with the visitors owning a two-point lead at 39-37. He had 24 at that juncture on 9-of-9 shooting while his teammates were a collective 6 of 21 for 15 points.
There were 10 ties and nine lead changes during the opening 20 minutes with a late 6-0 McFarland burst putting Bentley in front for good. He nailed a go-ahead three from the right wing with 3:19 left to grad the lead back at 36-35, and dropped in another three-ball from the top of the key with 1:02 until the break to make it 39-35. A tip-in by AIC junior forward Marcus Porter (New Castle, Del.) with 40 seconds on the clock closed out the first-half scoring.
Both teams shot at least 50 percent in the opening half, but Bentley stayed hot after play resumed while AIC misfired on nine of its first 11. The Falcons' 6-for-9 during the first six-and-a-half minutes included five points by McFarland and triples from junior forward Andrew Shaw (Saco, Maine/ Thornton Academy) and junior guard JP Koury (Red Bank, N.J./CBA). That made it a 55-41 game, with the 14-point differential proving to be a game high.
The Yellow Jackets battled back, closing to within eight at 68-60 with 4:21 left. That comeback bid was thwarted when Falcon senior guard Jasper Grassa (Lynn/Lynn Classical HS) buried a long three with 3:54 and McFarland followed with a lay-up 49 seconds later. Four points by Grassa in the final 50 seconds put the cap on the win.
In addition to his third 30-point game of the year, McFarland finished with five rebounds and three assists.
Shaw followed him on the scoring list, with 10 of his 15 points coming in the second half. Grassa finished with nine and sophomore guard Alex Furness (Wells, Maine/Wells HS) filled the stat sheet with a career-high 10 rebounds, eight points and five assists.
Porter was the high man for AIC, finishing with 17 points, ten rebounds and two blocks.
Bentley finished with a .547 field goal percentage and was even better from downtown, draining 10 of 17 (.588). Defensively, they limited AIC to 46 percent overall, including just 4 of 21 from outside the arc, and allowed only two free throw attempts, both misses. The Falcons finished with a 37-25 rebound advantage, including 21-11 in the opening half.
Bentley will be back on the road Wednesday, taking on the University of New Haven with a 5:30 pm tip-off.