WALTHAM, Mass. – Sophomore forward Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills HS) scored a game-high 25 points and senior guard Jasper Grassa (Lynn/Lynn Classical HS) followed with 23 as Bentley University started fast and closed strong for a 95-87 win over The College of Saint Rose in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Wednesday evening at the Dana Center.
Superior shooting from three-point land and the charity stripe proved to be the difference as Bentley snapped a two-game slide and improved to 14-6 overall and 8-6 in the NE-10. The Falcons knocked down 13 of 28 from downtown while Saint Rose (10-9, 7-6) was just four of 13. From the line, Bentley sank 22 of 26 and the Golden Knights misfired on 11 of 28 attempts.
The night started with coach Jay Lawson's team knocking down 11 of its first 16 shots, including a sizzling seven of eight from outside the arc to open a 32-18 lead less than 11 minutes into the game. McFarland had 12 of the 32, including the Falcons' first eight, and Grassa buried the first two of his five three-pointers.
Bentley's first-half lead peaked at 17, 49-32, with 4:33 left following a run of eight unanswered points. That spurt included four points from freshman forward Tyler Gibson (Rockland/Rockland HS).
The next ten minutes belonged to Saint Rose with the Knights closing the high-scoring opening stanza with a 13-4 run to draw within eight, 53-45, and opening the second half with a 16-7 spurt to claim a 61-60 lead. During that lengthy cold spell, Bentley made only 3 of 17 shots while committing four turnovers.
After the teams exchanged three-pointers, Bentley put together a 14-5 surge to regain a lead it would not give up. Senior forward Andrew Shaw (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) hit two free throws to give his team the lead back, 65-64, and followed with a triple four a four-point lead. After a rare Saint Rose three, McFarland scored the next six points for a 74-67 lead. A minute later, Grassa drained a three-ball from the left wing, making it 77-69 with 9:37 to play.
With Saint Rose within five with 5:15 to play, Bentley countered with a Grassa-fueled 9-2 run to make it a 12-point game, 88-76 with 2:46 left. That surge saw the Falcon senior hit an eight-footer, connect on a three-ball from the left wing and score on a driving lay-up.
McFarland, in addition to netting 25, helped out with eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks. Grassa knocked down five of eight from downtown and also provided seven rebounds, two steals and a block. Shaw buried four three-balls during a 16-point night and sophomore point guard Alex Furness (Wells, Maine/Wells HS) helped out with 11 points, a career-high eight assists and two blocks.
The Falcons also received a solid effort off the bench from junior guard Keegan Hyland (South Portland, Maine/South Portland HS), with nine points, eight rebounds and two steals.
Saint Rose matched Bentley's four double-figure scorers with six-foot-eight senior Dominykas Milka (Ridgewood, N.Y.) powering his way to 23 points and 14 rebounds, including 12 at the offensive end.
Other than the large differential in the three-point and free throw shooting, most of the other stats were close. Bentley shot slightly better (46-45 percent) and Saint Rose had two more rebounds (43-41) and one less turnover (8-9). The Golden Knights dominated in the paint, 36-22, and Bentley finished with a slight 24-23 edge in second-chance points.
Bentley will be on the road for four of its next five, beginning Saturday afternoon at Pace University.