MANCHESTER, N.H. – Second-half runs of 11-1 and 10-4 helped Southern New Hampshire University post a 74-67 win over Bentley University in Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball action Tuesday night at the SNHU Fieldhouse.
Junior guard Rodney Sanders (Linden, N.J) led SNHU with 21 points and five rebounds, and senior forward Elijah Bonsignore (Felton, Del.) followed with 13 points, seven rebounds and three rejections.
Senior guard Keegan Hyland (South Portland, Maine/South Portland HS) led Bentley with 16 points and junior All-Conference forward Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills HS) followed with 15, all coming after intermission, and six rebounds.
McFarland's first point of the night, coming on a three-ball from the right wing 40 seconds into the second half, made him the 50th 1,000-point scorer in the program's history and only the 18th Falcon to reach that milestone as a junior.
Bentley, which led by five (45-40) after starting the second half with a 12-2 flurry, was up a deuce after goaltending was called on a McFarland lay-up with 11:42 left. Senior guard Phillip Tripodakis (Athens, Greece) countered with a three from the right side, putting the Penmen back in front, 56-55.
That triple launched an 11-1 run and put Southern New Hampshire in front to stay. The extended dry spell saw the Falcons miss seven straight points and go 5:44 without a field goal.
After falling behind by eight, Bentley fought back with seven unanswered points bringing Bentley within one, 64-63, with 3:44 to play. Freshman guard Brandon Wheeler (Stamford, Conn./ Trinity Catholic HS) produced a second-chance lay-up and McFarland scored the next five, including a top-of-the-key three to make it a one-point game.
It would be more than three minutes before Bentley scored from the field again, a stretch that saw the Penmen (3-1, 2-1 NE-10) score seven straight, including a steal and lay-up by Sanders. The dry spell ended with a fast-break lay-up by sophomore Ferguson Duke (Dartmouth, N.S./Hun School (N.J.)) with 0:31 on the clock that cut it to six. One of two free throws by sophomore Devin Gilligan (Amherst, N.H.) and a late dunk by sophomore Adrian Oliviera (Pawtucket, R.I.) locked up the win for SNHU.
The first half ended with SNHU up 38-33 after scoring the final seven points, a run that matched the way they opened the game. Bentley, after trailing by as many as ten, bounced back and held a two-point lead three times.
Wheeler was Bentley's third double-figure scorer, coming off the bench to provide a career-high ten points in 17 minutes. Duke followed with nine points, and sophomore guard Chris Murray (Littleton, Mass./Littleton HS) contributed to the first-half comeback with five points off the bench.
Both teams connected seven times from deep, but SNHU shot much better overall, 48-38 percent, and also controlled the boards, 43-32.
Bentley (1-4, 0-3 NE-10) will return home to host Bridgeport Sunday at 2 pm.