WALTHAM, Mass. – Seniors Keegan Hyland (South Portland, Maine/South Portland HS), JP Koury (Red Bank, N.J./CBA) and Andrew Shaw (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) combined for 54 points and nine three-pointers on 21 of 30 shooting as Bentley University closed out 2014 with an 84-68 win over Franklin Pierce University in a Northeast-10 Conference men's basketball matinee New Year's Eve afternoon.
Hyland finished with a game-high 21, Koury followed with 17 and Shaw netted 16 points off the bench with each of the three connecting three times from outside the arc. Koury and Shaw both entered halftime with 13, helping the Falcons to a 10-point lead at 39-29.
The victory was the fifth straight for the Falcons, who ran their record to 8-5 overall and 3-4 in the NE-10. Franklin Pierce, which had won five of its previous seven, slid to 7-5 overall and 2-3 in conference play after being held to its second lowest scoring output of the season.
Led by Shaw and Koury, Bentley finished the first half with a 15-5 run, a stretch in which the Falcons limited the Ravens to only two field goals in nine minutes. That came after an 8-3 FPU spurt evened the contest at 24-all.
A Shaw triple from the right wing, with 7:18 on the first-half clock, broke the tie. The six-foot-five forward scored on a lay-up on the Falcons' next possession and Koury drilled a triple to make it 32-24 with 6:01 left until the break.
Franklin Pierce freshman Jordan Lackey (South Plainfield, N.J.) and Shaw traded three-pointers and Raven sophomore Donte Gittens (Hartford, Conn.) made a lay-up before baskets from Koury and Shaw closed out the first-half scoring. Shaw's lay-up with 38 seconds extended Bentley's lead to double-figures for the first time, 39-29.
The momentum continued when play resumed with junior forward Tyler McFarland (Rockport, Maine/Camden Hills HS) scoring five points in the opening minute of the second to make it 44-29.
Bentley put the game away with a 16-4 burst that stretched an eight-point advantage to 20, 81-61 with 2:48 left. During that span of six-and-a-half minutes, the Falcon defense surrendered only one lay-up and two free throws.
Hyland made 8 of 11 overall, including three of four from deep, and also had five rebounds and four assists. Koury, who matched Hyland in the rebound column, finished 7 of 11 overall and hit half of his six three-point attempts. Shaw, in 18 minutes of action, made six of eight overall and three of four from downtown. He also had four rebounds.
McFarland recorded his fourth double-double of the season, filling the stat sheet with 14 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Bentley also received a strong effort from junior guard Alex Furness (Wells, Maine/Wells HS), with eight assists, seven rebounds and seven points.
Franklin Pierce senior forward Ryen Vilmont (Philadelphia, Pa.), the NE-10 leader in three-pointers, made only one of six from outside and was held to 15 points, six below his season norm.
Bentley shot 56 percent overall, sank 11 of 26 three-pointers and more than doubled the Ravens on the boards, 42-20. Franklin Pierce, which committed only two turnovers, finished with a .435 field goal percentage and was just 7 of 23 from three-point land.
Bentley will be back at home Saturday afternoon for a 3:30 game against Saint Anselm College.