WEST HAVEN, Conn. – After Bentley University battled back from a 13-point second-half deficit to take a final-minute lead, University of New Haven junior center Eric Anderson (Newark, N.J.) drained two free throws with two seconds to play to give the Chargers a 72-70 win in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Wednesday night at Charger Gymnasium.
The two free throws capped a 29-point, 13-rebound, 3-block effort by the six-foot-eight Anderson, who had been four of six at the line, matching his season accuracy mark, before sinking both ends of a one-and-one.
Following a timeout, Bentley threw a long inbound pass but was unable to control the ball before time expired.
The loss dropped the Falcons to 13-5 overall and 7-5 in the conference while New Haven improved to 12-5 and 7-4. It was the second straight year Bentley has fallen by two to the Chargers.
Bentley, on the short end of a 53-40 score with 13:30 left, came out of a timeout with a quick 8-0 spurt that included a three-point play off a steal by junior guard JP Koury (Red Bank, N.J./CBA).
New Haven pushed the lead right back to nine and still had a six-point lead, 64-58, with 200 seconds left to play.
Bentley sophomore guard Alex Furness (Wells, Maine/Wells HS), who netted a team-best 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting, scored on a drive with 3:15 left and buried a three from the left wing about a minute later to bring his team within one, 64-63. After two Anderson free throws, he nailed another three from left wing, evening it 66 apiece with 1:38 left.
After Anderson gave the Chargers the lead back, a drive to the basket resulted in a three-point play for Bentley senior guard Jasper Grassa (Lynn, Mass./Lynn Classical HS) and a 69-68 lead, the Falcons' first of the second half. Anderson missed a potential go-ahead shot, Bentley sophomore Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills HS) collected the rebound and Grassa went to the line with 28.3 seconds to play.
Grassa made the first but missed the second with the rebound going to New Haven senior guard Justin Exum (Brooklyn, N.Y.). That led to a driving lay-up by senior guard Jeffrey Adkins (Piscataway, N.J.), knotting the score at 70 with 18.7 seconds left.
Bentley held for the final shot, but Grassa's long three was off the mark and McFarland fouled Anderson on the rebound, setting the stage for the decisive free throws.
Furness and junior guard Keegan Hyland (South Portland, Maine/South Portland HS), who proved 15 points off the bench, combined to make 13 of 16 shots, including 5-of-5 from three-point land, while the rest of the Bentley team was just 12 of 37 overall. Furness was perfect on his three attempts from downtown and he also had five rebounds. Keegan was 6-of-8 with a pair of three-balls, and he led the team in rebounds with eight.
McFarland followed with 14 points and seven rebounds, and Grassa finished with 10 points and four assists.
In addition to the 29 from Anderson, New Haven received 15 apiece from Exum and Adkins as the trio combined for 59 of the Chargers' 72 points.
Bentley shot better (47-43 overall, 50-39 from three) in the relatively turnover-free game (12 combined), but a 10-4 New Haven advantage in offensive rebounds led to the home team attempting 10 more shots.
Bentley will look to bounce back on Saturday when it hosts Saint Anselm College at 3:30 pm.