WALTHAM, Mass. – Junior guard Keegan Hyland (South Portland, Maine/South Portland HS) put up his first career double-double, finishing with 18 points and ten rebounds, and teammates Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills HS) and Jasper Grassa (Lynn/Lynn Classical HS) matched him in the scoring column as Bentley University closed out the regular season with an 80-66 win over Franklin Pierce University in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball Tuesday night at the Dana Center.
Bentley, which will be the fifth seed out of the Northeast Division in the upcoming NE-10 Championships, improved to 17-10 overall and 11-10 conference after posting a strong defensive effort. Franklin Pierce, 20-6 overall and 15-6 NE-10, was limited to .358 shooting and held about 16 points below its season norm.
Three-pointers by sophomore guard Alex Furness (Wells, Maine/Wells HS) and Hyland, followed by a McFarland lay-up, produced an 8-0 start for the Falcons.
After the Ravens answered right back with eight of their own, Bentley used a 13-3 run to take a lead it would never relinquish, the score standing at 21-11 with 7:41 left in the opening stanza. A turn-around jumper by Furness broke the 8-8 tie, Grassa followed with a pair of free throws and Hyland hit a lay-up.
Following a Franklin Pierce three, the run resumed with a triple from the right wing by Grassa, a fast break finished by sophomore Shaq Phelps (Linden, N.J./Linden HS) and another fast break capped by a McFarland lay-up.
Bentley, on top 33-23 at the half after holding the Ravens to 30 percent shooting, used a 9-2 run early in the second to make it a 15-point game, 42-27. That surge included five points by Hyland on a jumper in the paint and a three-point play.
Franklin Pierce threatened to get back in the game after running off seven straight to pare a 16-point lead to nine, 48-39, with 13:59 left, but once again, Bentley bounced right back to regain control. Seven unanswered points, including a 25-foot triple and two free throws by Grassa, quickly make it 55-39 and the Ravens never seriously threatened again.
Bentley's lead peaked at 20 following a Phelps put-back off a fast break with 6:51 left.
Hyland made eight of his 14 shots, including one three-pointer, while establishing a new career-high for rebounds. McFarland didn't miss a shot (8-8 overall, 2-2 threes) en route to his 18, and he also provided seven rebounds and two assists. Grassa, playing at home for the final time, added three to his school record three-point total (now 280) and was perfect on seven free throw attempts.
Bentley also received 11 apiece from Furness, who had a career-high nine assists, and Phelps, who was five of eight off the bench.
Eleven was the high point total by any Franklin Pierce player, with that number shared by junior Paul Becklens (Boston) and senior Adrianos Vouliotakis Perdikaris (Athens, Greece).
Bentley shot 48 percent overall, sank eight of 21 from three-point land and was successful on 12 of 13 free throws. The Falcons outrebounded the Ravens by just two, 41-39, but dominated in terms of second-chance points, 15-1.
Bentley will be on the road when the Northeast-10 Championships start Friday night, playing a 7 pm first-round game at The College of Saint Rose. The Falcons took the regular season match-up between the two, 95-87, last month.
The winner of that game will head to Saint Anselm for a quarterfinal game Sunday afternoon.